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

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 7 – Captain Tycho!

Happy holidays one and all! Wherever you are out in the blogosphere let me begin by wishing you good cheer this festive season, and may you all successfully dodge the Omicron variant…

This is going to be a short one because neither Jim or I have done a great deal of hobby stuff over the last couple of weeks as we’ve been making up for the misery of last year’s Christmas by doubling up on the drink and merriment for this year… that said, I have managed to get something done on my 1991 Blood Angels Tribute Act.

No Space Marine force is complete without a heroic leader – and I mean that literally, as the Codexes don’t allow it – and I’ve got one sorted for mine now. Here is Captain Tycho, 1991 style!

Mmm, shiny (cheers for the pics, Whittlesey!)

Now, here’s the one I cobbled together from what I had to hand:

I’m going to claim he looks vaguely festive, as he does look like an animated (and righteously furious) bauble… Goblin Green bases seem to do that.

It’s also increasingly obvious that I should have been painting these guys as Space Wolves as there are all sorts of wolfy trinkets hanging off him as well as other Marines… but I’m going to explain this away as the force having served alongside some Space Wolves and having been rewarded with some ornaments as a sign of good faith between these two. I also like the idea of a Space Vampire and a Space Viking slamming back some Space Brews in Space….

“Fething love you, Brother…. Hic”

Yellow is known for being a nightmare to do, so here’s my secret – cheat. White primer, preshade with thinned Vallejo Chestnut ink wash (this is quite handy as it helps outline what bit is where, which is useful when you’re as old and blind as I am) – and then just cheap yelow craft paint over the top. Chestnut ink wash and then mix some bone into the yellow to start to highlight up. I did some edge highlighting on the tops of the shin pads and some armour plates, but the clever stuff was drybrushed, I don’t have the eyes, skill or patience for anything more involved. Other than that I simply tried to follow the pattern on the 1991 original, doing the black with Vallejo German Grey washed with black ink and drybrush with a lighter grey.. For the bases I painted on PVA and dunked it in sand but in order to make it easier to paint I did this BEFORE priming.

Hoping to get him on the table pretty soon assuming Omicron doesn’t cause the downfall of human civilisation and the end of life as we know it… in the mean time, stay safe, healthy and thrifty and we wish you the Happiest of New Years!

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 6 – Blood Angels Terminators, 1991 style

How do – seeing as having recently written an absolutely EPIC battle report, my partner in blogging currently resembles this:

I thought I’d take over blogging duties for a little while and share my next block of progress with the Retro Blood Angels – for those of you unfamiliar with this endeavour, I picked up a job lot of Marines on eBay last year in celebration of my car unexpectedly passing its MOT, realised that if I combined them with the Marines from our inadvertent eBay purchase of a 2nd Ed 40K box set I would be able to put together the Blood Angels army featured in the first ever White Dwarf I ever read, issue 139 from May 1991.

I resolved to paint them in the classic 90s style – white primer, PVA & sand bases (painted Goblin Green), edge highlighting, no weathering – and offer up this tribute to.. well, I fell down there, really. I just wanted to have the army that I fell in love with as a nipper.

So far I’ve got the bulk of the infantry done – two Tactical Squads, a Devastator squad and an Assault squad, so this time it’s the turn of the elite 1st company veterans in their Tactical Dreadnought Armour:

I won’t delve into the painting format as it’s largely the same as what the rest of them have had just with an extra layer or two of yellow to bring out some highlights.

This was my goal:

Linked from Whittlesey40k, who also very kindly provided a set of decals for the project – owe you a beer!

And this was what I managed:

Don’t think the ‘Eavy Metal team will be beating a path to my door just yet, but from two feet away they look pretty good – and you’ll just have to trust me when I say that banner looks better in the flesh….

Progress so far? Well, funny you should ask:

All the lads – Nos 1 & 2 Tactical Squads, No. 4 Assault squad (Yellow helmets, chainswords and chap with “just a flesh wound”) and No. 9 Devastator heavy support squad (blue helmets, big guns).

Oh, and the how-to on the terrain mat is here – thoroughly recommend visiting Mel The Terrain Tutor on YouTube for a better run through.

What next? Well, that’s the infantry largely done, although the characters all need to be painted and there are some Techmarine conversions I’ll need to figure out – building sci-fi spanners out of cardboard and granny rating should while away a few evenings as the nights draw in – but the original force featured a Land Raider, a Thudd Gun, a Land Speeder and a few Rhinos which in the spirit of thriftiness I intend to scratchbuild – Jim’s given me a template for a papercraft Rhino from the now sadly shuttered In The Grim Cheapness, as well as a few hints and tips from his own experiences – and of course there’s always Wyloch.

Stay safe and thrifty out there and fingers crossed the Mu variant doesn’t doom us all to another lockdown winter…

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 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

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

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

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

The goal:

Picture courtesy of our good friend Whittlesy40k

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

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

Anyway, pics:

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

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

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

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

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

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!!