Goin’ Street Legal – Tidying Up The Guard

This was supposed to be an easy one….

So, back in the days of M2 992 when the 2nd edition of Space Marine came out, supplemented by Armies Of The Imperium, the Guard got a few tricks that haven’t endured to the present day. Crucially – as GW only had a limited number of model kits available – the Rhino was a standardised piece of kit available to Guard and Astartes forces alike.

Although your common or garden Guardsman is expected to footslog into battle and basically stand and die, under 2nd Ed Epic all Guard company HQs were all issued with Rhinos and furthermore each Guard company got issued a Commissar – essentially an independent morale/ political officer type, this is a useful unit able to act independently, handy in close combat and crucially able to reinforce the slightly inflexible Guard command structure by relaying orders and taking command over Guard units left leaderless. These units were free, and looked to be hugely useful – so in order to make the Granny Grating Guard a fully “street legal” playable force under 2nd Edition, I needed to make some.

Infantry were a piece of cake – usual cross shapes, with a slight alteration for the Commissar to represent his chainsword and a little smear of greenstuff for his cape. I painted the Guardsmen escorting him in the usual manner, while the Commissars themselves got funky red caps with black capes (I know, capes are pretty wizard) and shiny Vallejo Mithril Silver chainswords.

The Rhinos were a slightly trickier affair – I went back to the Vindicators from back in… 2019? The Before Times, the Long Long Ago and copied the dimensions, just leaving off the reinforcement glacis plate and unfeasibly large gun and adding a couple of hatches from thin cardboard (the circular ones were done with my hole punch), and the details of boltguns and exhausts were done with granny grating offcuts. I’ve got into a new technique with these – holding them with tweezers und using a mix of superglue and tacky PVA. The superglue provides the initial hold, the PVA provides are stringer more flexible bond after it dries.

I primed everything white because 1992, and painted with the same pattern of Granite Dust house paint/ Green Wash/ Brown wash/ Black wash/ Granite Dust Drybrush for the uniform bits. Craft black for the commissars, and following the “Assault On Barbarius” battle report forces I added yellow and blue stripes for the HQ vehicles.

Back when I last gave this project some love, John@justneedsvarnish mentioned that they could use some flags… now, I could have got all smug and snarky -“Oh yes, everyone knows that all sci-fi armies use banners to denote their valuable command units, totally tactically sound” – except of course, that he’s dead right. You can’t do ’90s GW without flags. So I copied the infantry company HQ flags as best I could onto paper and superglued them onto poles made from about 15mm of straightened out, snipped up paperclip.. and I also added some flags to the HQ units of the other companies and the Leviathan, using the white/red/white army ID symbol the army uses on its’ right front quarters.

So with that done, pics:

Commissars rocking the black and red finish, HQs in blue (Tactical company) and yellow (Heavy Company)
HQs – I think these came out the best tbh
Commissars, all ready and decked out to ensure faith in the Emperor
The force in its entirety, all ready to hit the table!

So that gets us to:

Imperial Guard Vindicator Company – 450pts, Break Point 5, Morale 4+ ,VPs 5

Imperial Guard Tactical Company – 600pts, Break Point 17, Morale 4+, VPs 6

Imperial Guard Heavy Company – 600pts, Break Point 9, Morale 4+, VPs 6

Imperial Guard Leviathan – 350pts, 4 VPs

Imperial Guard Sentinel Squadron – 100pts, Break Point 3, Morale 4+, VPs 1

Imperial Guard Rough Rider Squadron – 150pts, Break Point 5, Morale 4+, VPs 2
3 x Commissars – Free

So that’s a cool 2250pts of Epic to throw down with, not enough for a BIG big game, but enough for a decent enough scuffle – unfortunately Skinflint HQ is out of action for the moment (redecoration), but it’s nice to know the Hazzard PDF can throw something into the field to combat Waaagh- Bozzhog!

Slava Ukrainia, see you again soon

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

The Big One Pt.3 – Conclusion!

(NB – If you’re new here, go check out Parts 1 & Part 2, because otherwise NONE of this is going to make any sense…)

As we left matters at the end of turn 2, the central valley was awash with (now largely dead) Ratmen, but the objective – the crashed spaceship – was now in the hands of a regiment of humble Virum Nascii slaves and heading towards the Baddies’ table edge, and to make things worse the sorcerous cabal of the People’s Front Of Hazzard 237th Freedom Brigade had managed to conjure up a wall of psychic fire across the main approach route!

On the Goodies’ side, the PSLA (or Imperial Guard, depending on your viewpoint) finally showed up, adding a decent chunk of firepower, but as things stood, firepower was not the issue, we had plenty of that – getting it where it was needed was the problem!

Over on the Baddies’ table edge, Dan cackled malevolently as the Holy Soviet Army’s BIG GUNS appeared, in the form of Stompy Uncle Joe and the IS-6 Rampager (which would prove itself almost offensively useless, but there we go) and another regiment of Orcs arrived, but two more still languished on the sidelines – clearly too thick to find the batlefield.. and off we went for the next turn!

Turn 3 –

Baddies’ reinforcements – Stompy Uncle Joe turns up in the power station, the Rampager in the centre with another block of Orcs, and pay attention to the regiment of Virum Nascii Warriors top left- they’ll be important later on….
Goodies’ reinforcements hit the beach! The Guard arrive, along with the (literal) cavalry from the Ancien Regime, as well as the rest of the League Of European Nations troops
The Baddies secure the initiative and opt to move first – Virum Nascii Vrilseers conjure up a hole in reality for the Slaves carrying the spaceship to jump into, but it goes awry, scattering toward the power plant
Atlantic Alliance Silverbugs race forwards, gunning down Virum Nascii slaves and suppressing them
Just as her crew was readying to immolate the advancing Sky Marines, Inferna is riddled with Stinger TOW ADATS and Roswellium-tipped cannon rounds, exploding spectacularly!
Ancien Regime grenadiers finish off the remaining Ratmen in the valley, being reduced to just three men in the process!
Although the Virum Nascii slave regiment is now suppressed and unable to move, No. 2 Rifle squad picks up the spaceship and begins to move back towards the Baddies’ table edge!
A strong roll of Baddie activations sees the IS-6 Rampager managing to knock down a chain link fence, but despite twin 140mm cannons, two heavy and four light machineguns…. that’s all it accomplishes…. meanwhile the Orc Archer regiment picks up the crashed spaceship and hands it over to No. 3 Rifle squad who move further back toward the Baddie table edge – a very skilful hand of “Pass The Spaceship” by Dan!
Newly arrived regiment of Orc Warriors politely thank No. 3 squad and make off yet further with the crashed spaceship!
Although almost all of the Virum Nascii are dead by this point, a survivng Vrilfire rifle team manages to take down two Jagers! Such is the curse of the newly painted model…
Desperate to clear a path through to the rapidly disappearing objective, the M42 Stealth Tank decloaks and twin autocannons lay waste to Da Skooderia, leaving only the Warboss…
… who then rolls Frenzy, clearly thinking “Sod it – WAAAAAGH!!!” and charges straight up to engage Buffalo 2-7s HQ, killing Lt. Grant before Platoon Sgt. Mcauliffe finishes him off!
The surviving T-48 swings into position to block off the valley – between the wrecked vehicles and the wall of psychic fire, there is now no way through for the Goodie troops, it’s all down to the Rocketeers and Silverbugs..
… and then from out of the power plant comes Stompy Uncle Joe, the massive Soviet war mech immolating a Silverbug with his lightning launcher (taking out a Virum Nascii vrilrifle team as collateral damage, but hey)
The Goodies are throwing everything they’ve got in an attempt to force a passage – on the left the Sky Marines are advancing briskly through the hills to take on the remains of Da Skooderia, while Crimson Fists supported by a Centurion hammer at the centre, but the Baddies are getting away…
Remember the Ratmen warrior regiment from earlier? Well so did the PFH 237th’s cabal of sorcerers, successfully managing to teleport it in base to base contact with the Orcs currently carrying the spaceship..
With the dice gods smiling on him, Dan then successfully activates them (being teleported doesn’t mean they’ve had a turn yet) and they shoulder the spacecraft – then leg it straight off the board! It’s a firm victory for the Baddies!

So there you have it, a very smart Hail Mary play with a little luck on his side and my opponent snares victory! In fairness, had Dan not had the luck he would have won the next turn anyway, there was no way I was going to be able to get enough firepower into position to stop his troops running off with the objective. He damn near won at the start of turn 3 anyway, as the Virum Nascii Vrilseers created a reality tunnel for the Slaves to jump in to – had I not got lucky with it scattering, and not managed to suppress them, he would have had it in the bag right then.

Thoughts? Well, I think I did my usual trick of playing it like a straight up battle where the objective was to destroy the opponent – Dan on the other hand actually played the scenario… which was even more galling because I wrote the scenario!!! Reviewing the battle, he played very cleverly, and with all the ruthlessness that befits a Baddie general – the sacrifice of the Virum Nascii “rat bombing” me on Turn 2 and using the tough-as-nails Skooderia units to stymie me in the centre, then blocking the valley choke point with a psychic fire barrier… well played, sir, well played!

Right, after that MAMMOTH battle report I shall be handing the keys over to my colleague and going and lying on the sofa with a wet flannel over my head and quite possibly a large gin on standby…

Stay safe, healthy and thrifty out there wherever you may be in hobbyland, we’ll see you very soon!

The Valiant Conundrum

We live in strange and confusing times. Fake news, claims and counter-claims.. it seems like everyone has an agenda these days and it’s hard to know who to trust. But here at Skinflint HQ, we strip away the opinions and get straight to the facts, to answer the burning question so many of you want answered.

Just how well do Valiant Miniatures’ “heroic 20mm” WW2 miniatures scale with 40k figures?

I set out to find out – inadvertently ordering a full box rather than the single sprue I had planned to, but not going to argue with the results, 65 figures for £14.95! So maybe that Imperial Guard army you fancied doing isn’t so far out of reach?

I had actually got something slightly different in mind (assuming the results of my experiments were up to par) – we’ve already got the Guard for 40k in 20mm, and just doing the same thing in a slightly different scale seems a bit pointless to me (not to say we won’t do that at some point, but still) – I had actually planned to build a Levy platoon for Firefight, to work through the campaign in the rulebook, probably for a bit of Deadzone too, and I was planning to give them a bit of a “Colonial Marines” kind of vibe to try out another lost system from the 90s… more on that another day!

For my test figure, I based one of the little guys (late WW2 German infantry) on a 25mm round base, and after having drawn inspiration from this thread on TMP, I started to sci-fi him up a bit using card, superglue, granny grating (thanks Dan!) and greenstuff. He got a visor for the helmet (cardboard – this got knocked off during the conversion process and forgotten about, whoops), some body armour over his tunic (cardboard again), a greenstuff facemask – in the grim darkness of the far future, it pays to be COVID-secure – and some granny grating to turn his Mauser rifle into a lasgun/ pulse rifle/ autogun.

Mask, as is de riguer these days…
Body armour and knee pads
Upgunned with granny grating

Next step was basing – a bit of filler to smooth over the lip where the mini joins the base itself, followed by Ye Olde PVA & Sand mix, then a spray with white primer and a thin Smokey Ink wash. I’m not sure this really has an effect on the shading, but as I get older and my eyes start to go, this is really helpful to outline which bit is where on the miniature.

And the result:

Now we’re getting the 40k vibe..

I took my cue from the “Aliens” and “Avatar” films for the paint job, going with a craft tan base coat and a digital (ish) camo pattern using Army Painter Goblin Green, Vallejo Russian Green, Olive Drab and German Grey, all unified with a thin Smokey Ink wash and a very light bone drybrush.

I’m pretty happy with the result, he’ll do well for Firefight once he’s got his mates with him and he’s generically sci-fi enough to work in a variety of settings. And I’ve got 64 friends for him, all for under £15!

And now the answer you’ve all been waiting for – here he is with some 40k minis, an Ork, a Gretchin, most of an RTB 01 Marine and the Genestealers of Hive Fleet Imprudens:

As you can see, he looks pretty good – I think he works as a “true scale” human, he’s a bit puny looking compared to the Ork, but that’s kind of how it should be.. he’s taller than the Gretchin but much less imposing than the Marine, and that again is how it should be. So maybe those folks looking for “true scale” Marines are missing the point, the actual way to go is to downsize the humans?

Anyway, that’s it for now, I’ve got a LOT of superglueing to do to build a platoon of these guys! Stay safe and thrifty out there, we’re getting there now….

GDF Fight Club Update

Ok, well, the plan was to blog each game as it’s own individual battle report but the real world has rendered that idea a fantasy… Although I managed it for the first game (Battle Brothers vs Rebel Guerillas), we’ve had another four games and it’ taxing my memory to even remember the results! So I’m going to give a very rough synopsis along with a few pics to get us all caught up. (If you want to see more details, follow us on Twitter as we quite often “live blog” the games as we go).

So, straight in – Game 2 – Rebel Guerillas vs Human Defence Force

Could the Hazzard 1977th PDF succeed where the mighty Battle Brothers had failed? In a word – yes. Although it was a damn close run thing in the end, featuring a duel between the HDF and rebel psychics, the demolition of the Rebel Assault Vehicle and some crack supporting fire from the Heavy Weapon Teams swung the game to a solid victory for the HDF.

Gun battle between rebel infantry and HDF conscripts
Vicious melee between rebel and HDF commanders – as is only right and proper, the HDF cut down his opponent!
Up close and personal amongst the ruined buildings
The General proved to be invaluable, destroying the Rebel Assault Vehicle and laying waste to infantry

Game 3 – Human Defence Force vs Orc Marauders

Running with the principle of “winner stays on”, the HDF next took on the fearsome Orc Marauders of Da Skooderia! ou may remember these two clashing in earlier battles, but the guiding principle is always the same for the HDF – STAY BACK! You do NOT want to wond up in close combat with Orcs, particularly the super hard Power Armoured variety that made up the command echelon.

Orcs deploy as far forward as possible to get proppa stuck in as quick as possible
HDF deploy centred on the General’s awesome firepower, with heavy weapons teams anchoring the left flank to dominate the battlefield.
Good start for the HDF as the laser cannon team destroy the Orc transport and with the help of the Drill Sergeant focusing their fire, the massed assault rifles of the Conscript squad manage to bring down a Power Armoured Orc!
Conscripts fall back ahead of the advancing Warboss
Power Armoured Orcs getting worryingly close to the Heavy Weapons teams..
The General rumbles forward, spraying flamethrower, Nova Cannon and heavy machinegun fire into the Boyz Mob, wiping out half of them and pinning the survivors
Orc Commandos assault the General in close combat, inflicting a wound on the mighty vehicle before..
The HDF Psychic casts Furious Blaze from his hiding place in the temple, wiping out the elite Orc assault troops!
Power Armour Orcs crash into the Heavy Weapons teams, massacring the heavy machinegun and missile launcher teams in melee!
Warboss gets in on the act, tearing the laser cannon team limb from limb… moments before a shot from the General’s Nova Cannon atomised him!
After the HDF Psychic manages to again cast Furious Blaze, wiping out the rest of the Boyz, the Orcs start turn 4 with precisely two models left – HDF surviors fan out to capture two objectives to the Orcs’ one.. HDF victory!

Game 4 – Human Defence Force vs Ratmen Clans

Conscripts deploy centrally in cover, with Drill Sergeant and Psychic in support
Ratmen gather in the woods behind the ruined settlement
Led by their Drill Sergeant, the HDF conscripts advance into the ruined church.. to be promptly ambushed by Ratmen saboteurs!
HDF Psychic summons Furious Blaze, immolating the second Saboteur team
The General unloads into a team of Ratmen in the farmhouse objective, killing 2
Ratmen saboteurs swarm the General, causing a wound and pinning it!
HDF machinegun team down a ratswarm, but can only watch in horror as the Ratmen swarm all over A squad and the Captain!
Ratmen psychic casts Lightning on the General, causing three more wounds on the mighty tank!
With excellent rifle discipline under the Drill Sergeant’s watchful eye, the conscripts redeploy to gun down the Ratmen at point blank range
The Captain reactivates A squad, pulling back and killing the Rat Piper
The General pours more fire into the saboteur team in the farmhouse, killing two more and pinning the survivor
Rat Swarm musters on the objective to deny it to the HDF – though they take casualties from the heavy machinegun team opposite, they hold firm..
In a desperate attempt to cripple the General, the surviving Saboteur attacks the General in close quarters..
Shrugging off the Saboteur’s attack, the General is hit by Ratmen psychic’s Lightning and barrels into the farmhouse, killing the surviving saboteur and wounding the Clan Mother!
Last minute assault by the HDF A squad is driven off, meaning that’s a draw!

Game 5 Human Defence Force vs Battle Brothers

Battle Brothers ‘ support squad deploy overlooking the battlefield
HDF infantry deploy into the woods
Battle Brothers’ charge forward, exiting their APC before it’s destroyed by Furious Blaze from the HDF psychic
The General gets into action, spraying the Brothers in the church with machinegun, flamer and Nova Cannon, killing two
Brothers’ commander engages the HDF Psychic in melee.. incredibly, the firs round is a draw!
The Commander finally batters the psychic and claims an objective… but elsewhere three Brothers fall to laser cannon fire and one to massed Conscript assault rifles!
The last Battle Brother in the farmhouse….
With the last Brother falling to a missile launcher shot, HDF infantry pours forward to occupy the objective! 2 objectives to 1, that’s another HDF victory!

Whew. So, thanks for sticking with us, that’s us all caught up! If you’re keeping score, that’s 3 wins and a draw for the HDF, a win for the 237th, a draw for the Ratmen and zero for everyone else:

Human Defence Force – 3 1/2

Rebel Guerillas – 1

Ratmen Clans – 1/2

Skooderia – 0

Battle Brothers – 0

Paperhammer with Jim! DIY Crimson Fist Rhino (in 1/72)

Greetings! You join me at the tail end of lockdown (EDIT – since I started this post, our dear old city of Leicester has become the national pioneer in local lockdowns.. if I find which one of you f*ckers hasn’t been washing their hands there’ll be trouble, I’ve been fantasising about my first pint and some bastard has ruined it all for everyone) , as everyone in the UK seems to have said “sod it” and given up… a brief glance at Bournemouth beaches over the last couple of days would seem to indicate that for many Brits sunshine > virus. For me, I choose to get sunburnt in my own garden where the booze is plentiful and the toilet access is more than adequate – and I can always nip inside to MAKE STUFF.

This project was meant to be a quick and simple build to add a Rhino to the Crimson Fist marine force we scratchbuilt back when 8th edition came out – now 9th is on the cards and the core rules are going to be free to download, I suspect we’ll be revisiting “The Farm” on Rynn’s World again pretty soon, and it might be nice to develop that story thread given that one of the big selling points of the new edition is it’s campaign mechanic. Anyway…

I started with a visit to the now-sadly-defunct-but-still-online blog “in The Grim Cheapness” and downloaded a Rhino papercraft template from there. I rescaled it 66% – 40k is kinda 1/48 scale, so divide 48 by 2 is 24, mulitiple by3 = 72, so 2/3 of 1/48 is 1/72. More or less.

I followed the template for the body- using cheap glue stick to glue the paper templates to a pizza box and cutting round them. To reinforce the sides – the track units – I cut out a slab of foamcore to the right size and shape, and built the cardboard up around that. I then glued the track units on to the side of the body, and then used a few dabs of Polyfilla to fill in the more egregious gaps and sanded the excess.

Next up was detailing – I cut out the hatches (and scored the card to create indentations in the disembarkation doors) and tried a bit of a trick with the grills. I cut out the main shape and glued nylon tulle over it (had a load left over from the Skalk Point build we did back in the World That Was), and then glued the cardboard frame over that. As it panned out, this didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped, but I think that was more down to slapdash and impatient execution on my part than anything else! I used some bits of sprue to create the buttress/ exhaust bits.

For the running wheels, I cut out 8mm diameter circles of single corrugated card, cut them in half and glues the pieces together to create 4-5mm thick semicircles. I glues these in place with tacky gue and then cut out 5mm thick strips of IDE cable to be the tracks. I used gel superglue to glue these in place.

Detailing added – bolter is a bit of cocktail stick with IDE cable to represent an ammo belt
Primed grey

After a spray of grey primer, I tried a bit of underpainting – pin wash with black ink in the recesses, drybrush white. Then a coat of cheap blue craft paint:

Blues layered up along with black ink pin wash, areas that will be painted red undercoated with Wilkos Cloud Burst house paint
My template for painting!
The finished article! Red craft paint, then, sponge chipping with black graft paint and Vallejo Mithril Silver for the bare metal

The final touches were some craft brown paint mixed with PVA and sand for some mud texture paste to cover a few (ahem) modelling inconsistencies..

Overall, I’m pretty pleased – I think this fella will do well transporting the remains of the Crimson Fists into battle on Rynns World, not to mention layin’ it down on the world of Hazzard when we finally get to get a game in….F*cking c*cking sh*tting w*nking lockdown… WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS, PEOPLE OF LEICESTER! I WANT TO GO TO THE F*CKING PUB! WE’RE SO CLOSE!!!!

Seethe.

And there I shall leave you- we are tantalisingly close to hooking up for a game, but after three – four? – months, another week or so… ain’t no thing.

Stay safe out there, WASH YOUR HANDS, WEAR A MASK AND DON’T DO STUPID THINGS! See y’all soon (I hope)..

DIY Epic Infantry – Yes, You Read That Right.

Right, that’s it, Seven weeks into lockdown and every single surface in my house and garden has now been painted. I’m now allowed to down paintbrush and have some hobby time. So what’s a Dan do now he’s at a loose end?

I know, I’ll paint something.

I wound up with custody of our DIY Epic Imperial Guard contingent when lockdown hit and for a while I was wondering what to do about the infantry contingent – I mean you can’t have the Guard without Guardsmen, right? Massed ranks of lasguns just battering the enemy into submission through sheer force of numbers? I checked out Onslaught, Vanguard, Brigade, Ground Zero Games.. some lovely stuff out there, light years removed from the old 90s GW stuff (which you can still find on eBay, but truth be told, you’re better off hiring a for-real mercenary company for the prices they go for).

And then I chanced upon this guy.

And, forgive me, but I fell in love. For those who can’t/ won’t click the link, this is an utterly brilliant concept called Granny Grating Armies – basically, you cut little shapes from plastic mesh to represent different types of soldier, and you rely on the paint job to carry the illusion. It’s incredibly ingenious, and incredibly cheap, and I absolutely love it. Links to some other projects:

Lord Of The Rings Isengard army

More of the same.

So, I came, I saw, I fell hard. As luck would have it, I still have most of a sheet of granny grating in the store cupboard (Find some here for those of you who have no idea what this stuff is or where to get it). Following the instructions in the YouTube video, I cut out what is basically a cross shape with an extra horizontal layer at the bottom (watch the video, this is som much easier shown than described) and hot glued them to a 20mm x 20mm square of cardstock cut from the back of a notepad (this stuff is called chipboard by our transatlantic cousins.. hello, Wyloch!). A Guard infantry company in 2nd Ed Space Marine has three platoons of ten stands each, plus a command section of two stands and a Rhino – yes, we had Rhinos back then. At five guardsmen to a stand, that’s 160 granny grating soldiers…

…Barely even touched the sides. With more than ¾ of my A4 sheet of granny grating still intact, I chopped out a couple of poles and glued them to the command stands to represent battle standards, and then out to the shed for a quick coat of black primer – no special reason for black other than that’s all I’ve got at the moment.

I spent a few minutes pondering the paint scheme and was suddenly hit by a brainwave – I’ve still got those little tester pots of Wilkinsons’ emulsion that I use for terrain, and amidst them was a very light grey called “Granite Dust”which would serve as a base coat. Splodge on with a big brush all over all the lads, followed by a tan coat with craft paint, Vallejo German Grey dotted on over the chest to represent flak armour, silver on the upper horizontal to represent the lasgun, and a thin black wash. Then a dab of flesh tone on the “faces” and “hands”, with a light wash of Vallejo Skin Wash, and a dab of either red, blue or yellow craft paint to the helmet to mark out which platoon was which, and that’s pretty much it.

For basing, I painted burnt umber craft paint over the black primer, and when dry, a coat of PVA. Drizzle a little flock over it, followed by just a pinch of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and we’re done. All told, about three evenings, an hour or so a time – result, one full strength Imperial Guard Infantry company, cost £0. THAT’s how you keep to a budget.

Epic experts will know there’s still the Rhinos to build, but that’s basically the same as how we did the Vindicators last year, plus every Guard company also comes with a Commissar (and his own Rhino) to keep the lads in order, but they’re coming….

Meanwhile, pics:

“J” company on parade!
Even up close they’re not too bad..
Commissar and Rhino
With GW Marine stand for scale – it’s pretty close!
The full force so far

I love these little buggers. Are they a patch on any of the outrageously beautiful and detailed 6mm masterpieces makers like Onslaught or Vanguard offer? Hell no. They’re not even close to the old GW stuff. But from 2 feet away, who cares? They scale well, and you can make hundreds of them for about £5 in materials! Jim, you’re going to love these… and oh, yeah, that’s the third paintjob on the vehicles, that same Granite Dust with first a green, then a brown, and finally a black wash with just a little drybrushing. Never let it be said I’m indecisive.

Granny Grating Armies is a real thing, check out some links here and here – even if you don’t want to make the models, you’ve got to love the ingenuity.. and it’s surprising how you start seeing the world in grid patterns after you’ve been doing this for a while! Up next, Commissars, a Heavy Company and some Rough Riders! Till then, stay safe, stay thrifty, see you soon.

2019 – A Year In Review

It’s 2020. The future is HERE. And as our hangovers recede from biblical to manageable (and we plan something BIG….) it’s time to review our 2019!

The year kicked off with a trip back to 1993 as we played through the Warhammer 40k 2nd Ed mini campaign, Marines vs greenskins in the ash wastes of Armageddon, but we did find time for a diversion to Central Europe of an alternate 1954, for a quite ludicrously violent scrap set in the early days of the Apocalypse War as Stalin’s legions flood across Central and Western Europe. As it turned out, this made for a cracking backstory for the origins of the feud between Lt. Grant and Lt. Polikarpov!

As the 40k campaign wound down, we turned our attention back to Apocalypse: Earth, with a new unit for the League of European Nations that I’d been looking forward to knocking together for a while. By this point we were firmly into springtime and the D-Day celebrations were looming large on the horizon. We both wanted to do something to commemorate it (as we both had grandparents who had participated) and as a result our most ambitious terrain build ever began! This laid the groundwork for our biggest Apocalypse: Earth game yet, as Lt. Polikarpov led a vanguard of the Holy Soviet Army in the shock 1956 invasion of Scotland!

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…

The Virum Nascii (totally not Skaven army that we went crazy and bought four boxes of in 2018) have got a good few games in this year too, in various rules systems – Hyperian Wars and Age Of Fantasy: Regiments from One Page Rules, including an epic slaughter against the Sky Marines that won the approval of none other than Gav Thorpe himself!

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.

Oh, and speaking of ambition – THIS happened.

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!

Do You Like My Leetle Tanks? DIY Imperial Guard Vindicator Company

EDIT – I began this post before Christmas, but life kind of got in the way.. hope you enjoy this belated post!

Two sleeps til Christmas – but amidst the festive lunacy, we’ve still found time to complete a project! These lads are one of the first steps to having the Epic Imperial Guard Army I always wanted but could never (and still can’t afford)..

Anyone interested in the build process should check here first, a this post is going to be all about the paintjob and finishing off the last steps of this project. Now, I’d struggled with a camo pattern for these lads for a while, and regular visitors to the blog might notice some changes since their last appearance.. So I’d hummed and hawwed about how to paint them and eventually decided on an 80’s BAOR/ NATO inspired three tone camo. A few simple steps:

Prime grey.

Basecoat with Vallejo Russian Green.

Stipple With Vallejo German Grey.

Detail with Vallejo US Olive Drab

Wash with thinned Vallejo Black Ink

Drybrush with bone craft paint

Metallics with Vallejo Silver

Pin wash with Vallejo black ink, and wash the metallics.

Tactical symbols freehand with bone craft paint

Drybrush mud with GW Bestial Brown or craft paint equivalent.

And the results?

The lads on parade! Note the red hatch and antenna on the HQ tank – because nothing is more tactically sound than making it totally plain to the enemy which one is your command tank…

Spot the real GW Rhino! Commissar rhino, and artillery company command Rhino shown for scale..

Squadron markings on the front mudguards – red, blue and grey

These lads got a lashing over on Dakkadakka, but TMP members seemed to dig them, and personally I’m quite pleased – they’re a bit darker and more indistinct than I intended, but it’s a relatively “believable” colour scheme and the tactical symbols (which I copied from Google Image search for “FV432 camouflage”) give them a bit of life. They’re sure as hell not perfect, but from two feet away they look pretty good, and I’m looking forward to getting them on the table!

Meantime, Happy Christmas to one and all out there in the blogosphere, here’s wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and New Year!