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

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!

The Big One (Pt. 1)

We’re FREEEEEEEEEE!

Sorta.

And what better way to celebrate our new found glorious, double-jabbed-plus-two-weeks liberty than by reinstating our Grand Summer Megagame…

Now, admittedly, the last time we did this we managed to precipitate the Great Plague Of 2020, so it’s entirely possible that in a couple of months we’ll be staring at a blank screen lamenting the collapse of humanity to an alien invasion… but we’re willing to take that risk. Let’s break out the toy soldiers!

As before, the mantra was WE BRING EVERONE.

So that’s all the factions we’d built in 20mm for Apocalypse: Earth, Hyperian Wars and Future Force Warrior – seeing as these three games are all built around the same basic principles, they’ve proved to be pretty compatible. And as before, we divided them into two rough factions, “goodies” and “baddies”. Orders of battle below:

Goodies:

Atlantic Alliance (A:E)

League Of European Nations (A:E)

People’s State Liberation Army 1977th Guards Regiment (FFW)

People’s State Liberation Army Special Forces “Crimson Fist” Squadron (FFW)

Ancien Regime (HW)

Grand Alliance Sky Marines (HW)

Baddies:

Holy Soviet Empire (A:E)

Da Skooderia (FFW)

People’s Front Of Hazzard 37th Freedom Brigade (with associated civilian elements) (FFW)

Lord Ratticus’ Virum Nascii Horde (HW)

Orcs (HW)

Last time out the baddies had been significantly outnumbered and outgunned, but we’d finished adding some special weapons to the Virum Nascii, not to mention about 100 fantasy Orcs, the PFH rebels with their cabal of powerful psychics and a cloud of armed civilians… should be a close run thing!

We also faced a problem this time – having EVERYONE on the table was just not going to work – there just wasn’t room- so we came up with a different scenario to the basic “Kill ‘Em All” approach of last time. This time we placed an objective – in this instance a downed spaceship (3D printer Dan’s son had lovingly assembled and then sat on) – dead centre. The aim would be to pick up the spaceship and move it off your table – the unit carrying the spaceship would only be able to move at half speed and the objective would only be able to captured from Turn 2 onwards.

For deployment, all forces would be available but each unit would have to pass a reaction roll to appear.. each subsequent turn that roll would get a +1 bonus, then an extra +1 the turn after that and so on.

We set the table up with all the biggies – Mel Bay, Bose Cliffs, Skalk Point and the plasma reactors, ruins , BIG RUINS, and military buildings – with half the table rural and half urban, and I’ve got to say, biased as I am it all looked GOOD. Check it out:

Into The Valley Of Death….

We diced for table edge – the Baddies winning and choosing the ruined city, leaving the Goodies with the beach landing – and then we began to deploy units alternately as per the Apocalypse Earth rulebook, rolling for availability as we went…

Goodies hit the beach – although NONE of ze Churmans or the PSLA 1977th made their rolls, we got the Fists, most of the Atlantic Alliance and the Sky Marines
The Baddies rolled with most of the Holy Soviet Army (Stompy Uncle Joe and the Rampager having failed their reaction rolls), Da Skooderia, the People’s Front Of Hazzard 237th – the Orcs failed their rolls and mysteriously there was no sign of the Virum Nascii….
Birds’ eye view..

And thus the stage was set for quite the showdown – stay tuned for the next episode!

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 5- Blood Angels Assault Squad, 1991 style

Ok, so here in Blighty it is allegedly the height of summer but the sun has been an inconsistent companion.. however, in the grim darkness of the far future the primary colours are always bright and the grass is always Goblin Green.

And to give some variety, let me present a post that is NOT all about granny grating… we’re back to 1991 for some retro Blood Angels assault troops!

Now these guys were a little more speculative in terms of colour scheme as they certainly weren’t in the initial magazine article in White Dwarf 139, and in fact I’m not sure they ever made it into a battle report before Space Wolves and then Ultramarines became the flavour of the month, but really the only difference is in the helmet – those that are wearing them – being painted bright yellow.

The lads out in the shed for priming – I had to do a little conversion, buying in aftermarket resin jump packs (possibly 3D printed judging from the feel of the material) and chainswords, the essential assault weapon of the 41st millenium. PVA and sand on the bases BEFORE priming – this makes things a hell of a lot easier and less messy later on, wish I’d known that back in the day..
The finished article! Painting process was the same as previous units so no point repeating myself here, although the yellow was shaded with Vallejo Skin Wash before brushed back up with cheapy craft Cadmium Yellow paint.
“Space Wolves? Who they?”
Mk 6 armour makes an appearance
As conversions go, this is pretty brutal! But once I saw Hopalong here, he had to be an assault trooper… “T’is but a scratch!”
The lads all ranked up on the dining table – that’s all the line troops done, next up Terminators, characters, Techmarines and vehicles. The grim darkness of the far future never looked so vivid!

Shout out to Whittlesey40k for the decals that set the whole thing off, very kind of you – and when things FINALLY open back up, these lads will be making their pilgrimage to Warhammer World… stay safe, stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon

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

Well, thank Christ that’s over.

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

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

Of course, as for 2020 itself……

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the pub come summertime.

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

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 2 – First Squad Done!

How do folks, hope you’re all staying safe out there – as we hunker down for the second COVID wave, let me brighten your lockdown with some bold primary colours from the grim darkness of the far future… yes, that’s right, despite my diversion into 20mm fantasy, I’ve not forgotten my 90’s Blood Angels and I’ve actually got a squad completed.

Behold the grimdark, in glorious Technicolour.

I’ve already described the painting process in my first post, so I won’t belabour it here, the main additions were the free hand blood drop on the shoulder pad…

There was a mixed level of success with this, my freehand won’t be winning me any Golden Demon trophies.

There was a slight logistical issue with this, as I discovered I dodn’t have any white model or craft paint. However, I spent the first few months of lockdown repainting my house so.. yes, the drops were done with Dulux Jasmine White house paint (albeit thinned with acrylic medium). Heresy? Almost certainly.

You might also notice the decal – I’d been wondering about where to get hold of these until Whittlesey40k (the same chap who very kindly allowed us to link the original photos from White Dwarf on his blog) got in touch with Jim and very kindly sent a set over entirely free of charge! So many thanks Whittlesey, we really appreciate that and if we’re ever in the same postcode I owe you a beer. Check out his blog here, there’s some fantastic stuff.

Thanks Whittlesey!

The last part was the banner – now, you can’t do 90’s 40k without back banners, can you? Back in the late Rogue Trader/ 2nd ed days, anyone who was anyone in the 41st millenium carried around a flag proclaiming them as such. I’d managed to download a PDF of White Dwarf 139 from Scribd, which had the painting guide for the GW studio Blood Angels army in it complete with back banner designs you can print out, “colour in” and cut out, so that’s exactly what I did, trying to match the colour choice and keep to the lines as close. I’m not as deft at it as those chaps were, but they look pretty good from two feet away and they absolutely scream 90s at you.

The banners are mounted on a paperclip that I straightened out and clipped using wire cutters, and then superglued the banners to. The ends got wedged down the back of the power packs and a dab of superglue to keep in place… I suppose I could have drilled something, thinking about it, but I am trying to keep bloodshed to a minimum. That said, I did drill out the missile launcher barrel – check me out!

The lads on patrol – sergeant and veteran marine equipped with banner. Hilariously impractical, but so cool
Moving out on patrol… at least nobody will lose sight of each other.

So there we go, another baby step forward in my vanity project! Second tactical squad up next, then I think the Devastators… I’ll use them to get my eye in a little more before getting to the Terminators and characters. Plus of course getting my Paperhammer on building them some Rhinos (Jim can help with that) – so plenty to be getting on with.

Stay safe, stay thrifty and The Emperor Protect us all!

Crossing the Rubicon Nostalgius! A 1991 Blood Angels Tribute – Pt.1

In lead they shall be cast, and upon sand and PVA they shall walk. White shall their primer be, and in plate of brightest orange shall I clad them. In red ink I shall shade them, and they shall walk upon fields of goblin green. Let them bear their weapons close to their chests, and in but one pose they shall stand. For they are my Blood Angels, and they shall know no weathering.

Sit down, gentle reader, and I shall tell you a tale. This all started a month or so back when my car quite unexpectedly passed it’s MOT. A welcome piece of good news, to be sure, and given my car’s recent history a most surprising one – and one that left me with a little bit of spare cash.

Spare cash + wine + 1990s nostalgia (because 2020 isn’t really doing itself any favours, is it?) – you can see where this is going. A couple of hours later and a cursory browse of eBay found me a job lot of Space Marines for £20 or thereabouts including posting… plastic Marines and Terminators in a variety of states, but in quantity enough that I could start to build a tribute to one of the very first armies I ever saw in White Dwarf, the Blood Angels 3rd Company from White Dwarf 139, July 1991:

Pic linked from https://whittlesey40k.wordpress.com/ – check him out, it’s a great blog
These lads are part of the exhibition at Warhammer World, check them out here:
The Grim Darkness OF The Far Future rendered in glorious technicolour!
Just for the young ‘uns, this is what Gretchin looked like back then

So, giddy with anticipation, I did my planning and preparation, getting the paint and primers together – white primer (naturally), Vallejo Hot Orange and Red Ink, and Army Painter Goblin Green for the bases. These seemed to be the closest match for the old GW paints – I prefer Vallejo because of their dropper bottles, the Citadel stuff dries out too easily in my view.

They’re here! In various states of disrepair…

Next step was stripping them – and not just them, my Deathwatch too, as these would be needed to form the tactical squads. A bit of a wrench, to be sure, but equally I’d never been entirely happy with them… so I made my peace, these lads were going to be what they always should have been, Blood Angels in glorious orange! (Side note – these chaps came in the 2nd Ed box set we accidentally bought while under the influence a couple of years back, so we really are going full on early 90s here)

Farewell lads…
Into the meths you go – methylated spirits + old toothbrush + elbow grease = successfully stripped plastic model
Glued sand to the base THEN applied the primer – wish I’d thought of that back in ’91…
First tranche underway – primed white, two thin coats (natch) of Vallejo Hot Orange
Wash of Vallejo Red Ink, straight from the pot
Drybrushed back up with Vallejo Hot Orange
Pin wash of Vallejo Brown Ink and then edged with black craft paint
Metallics! Vallejo Mithril Silver with thinned black ink wash to take the edge off
Taking care of details – getting there now
It’s 1991! Drybrushed the bases with yellow to add depth

So there we go! Not quite there yet, I’ve got to get hold of some decals, but I’m happy with the basic scheme. Now, here’s the list:

So yeah, a fair bit to do..

My goal is to take these lads down to Warhammer World next year, assuming 2020 doesn’t have any more nasty surprises in store for us, as it’ll be a nice little 30th anniversary for them, so let’s see what we can do – Jim has already built a scaled down Rhino from papercraft templates, I’m going to see if I can build some full sized ones for these lads. Land Speeder, Thudd Gun and Bikes might be a bit more of a challenge, but let’s give it a go.. in any case, my biggest ever vanity project is underway!

If you made it this far, well done and stay safe out there – Jim & I were looking forward to a first game and pint since January (!) only to find ourselves caught by a local lockdown, so that’s buggered that for the next couple of weeks… Oh well, at least I’ve got something to keep me busy!

PS – Thanks again to Whittlesey40k for use of the photos – check out his blog, lots of great stuff: https://whittlesey40k.wordpress.com/

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.

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!