The League Of Who? DIY Epic Squats!

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

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

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

-and then, stuff got in the way…..

..and then this happened!

Yup. Stop the clock, as they say.

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

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

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

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

Stay safe and thrifty out there, and Slavia Ukrainia!

On The Historical Unity Of Russian And Ukrainian People

Yes, this is a clickbait title. But bear with me, there’s a reason.

It’s a week since the world lurched into terrifying insanity, and like everyone else we’ve been horrified and frankly terrified by what we’re seeing coming out of Ukraine, along with the vague threats of nuclear weapons being issued by a Russian president who seems to have lost his fucking mind. My way of kidding myself I can do anything constructive about the situation (because changing my Facebook status to a Ukrainian flag is comically useless) has been to research the ever-loving shit it of it, to try and understand what is happening and why, and how those in power might go about stopping it. This is something that mainstream media coverage, with it’s focus on “Explosion! How do you feel? Explosion!” – all data, no analysis – doesn’t really help with (not to knock the journalists, they’ve got a job to do), and there seem to be a number of factors at play here when you pull back and look at a wider picture.

These two YouTube videos provide an excellent context:

TLDW – basically, 3 factors at play.
1) Demographics – there is a looming crisis as the Russian population decreases, deaths have been outnumbering births since the fall of the Soviet Union. In a generation, there simply won’t be enough Russians to man a cohesive military.
2) Geography – Ukraine controls some of the access points to Russia along the North European Plain, a historic invasion route into Russia proper. This has been a pattern in Russian activity since the Georgia invasion of 2008, followed up in 2014 in Crimea. Crimea is also home to the port of Sevastapol, the only warm water port the Russian navy has access to.
3) Commercial/ Resources – Russia’s economy is largely based on exporting petrol, gas, and to a lesser extent, wheat. These are commodities that Ukraine also bases it’s economies around, and in 2012 had discovered a potentially vast untapped gas vein that it was licencing out to Western companies.

There’s obviously MUCH more to the situation that I can sum up there and I urge you to do your own research, but those videos are a fascinating start point (I’d also recommend Task & Purpose for an excellent ground level analysis of events from a combat infantryman’s perspective)

So having established some context as to why this might be happening, we come to the second point – what can we do about it? Well, nothing. Probably. But I checked our stats and we do have some engagement in Russia – nothing major, 43 views last year, 101 in 2020. But if those 43 people read this article, and share it with another 43 people, and then those 43.. you see where this is going.. it’s just faintly possible we might be able to accomplish something useful.

Everything I’ve read so far has focused on the hideous carnage and humanitarian disaster aspects of this crisis – and so they should. But this doesn’t seem to have helped stop it from happening. So I’m going to try and make an appeal to the common sense and self interest of the Russian people – if you’re Russian, or if you have friends and family in Russia, please share it with them and get them to share it with as many people as they can.

  1. How do you think this is going to end? Best case scenario (from Putin’s point of view) – you get to Kyiv, arrest/ kill Zelensky (or he flees), install a pro-Russian government.. and then what? There’s no way back at that point. You will have caused too much damage, killed too many people for there ever to be friendship and trust between Ukraine and Russia. IF (and a few days ago I would have said when) you make it to Kyiv, if you accomplish your goal, you will spend DECADES with a vicious, lethal (Western-backed, funded and armed) insurgency right on your doorstep. We learned about this in Iraq and Afghanistan – think back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or more recently the slaughter in Chechenya. And if you escalate with the really big guns (I’ve seen footage of TOS thermobaric launchers rolling into Ukraine), the more desperate Ukraine will get, and with no way to respond symmetrically, I would expect an asymmetric response.

    Remember Beslan? 186 Russian children dead. That was overspill from Chechenya. Ukraine is a LOT bigger than Checehya. How many Beslans are going to come out of this? How many Russian children will die if/ when the Ukrainians get desperate and the gloves come off?

    Will it be your child?
  2. It’s not exactly going well so far for the Russian military, is it? Amazingly, despite the vast qualitative and quantitive difference (on paper) between the Russian and Ukrainian air force, Ukrainian planes and drones are still flying. NATO countries, even if they’re not publicly admitting this, are almost certainly assessing the tactics employed so far and coming out underwhelmed by Russian offensive capacity. But we’re not the ones you have to worry about – we never were. Our risk-averse society, brought back into focus by the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles (no disrespect to the soldiers doing the actual work, I more mean to call out the hubris and naivety of our leaders) would never countenance any offensive action toward Russia. And your 6200+ nuclear weapons mean there’s NO danger from us.

    But… look East. Look at your sole remaining “ally”. Population approximately 1.45 billion. Resource hungry. Geographically close to the sparsely populated area of Siberia – lots of lovely things under the ground in Siberia – nickel, silver, zinc amongst others.

    Let’s not forget China has a demographic crisis of it’s own, courtesy of the One Child policy in the 80s. That means LOTS of “spare men” – of military service age – who can’t marry or start families. The last time China had this issue was just after the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and a cynic might make the point that one of the reasons Mao intervened in the Korean War was to find something to do with these “spare men”.

    And it’s not like you haven’t got history.

    If I were Xi Jinping, quietly assessing the capabilities of the Russian military, I would be distinctly unimpressed. And the Chinese government is rather more laissez-faire about casualties than the West, traditionally. I don’t believe the Chinese would look for a war, but I believe Xi could be tempted by opportunity – and there are enough ethnic similarities between alot of the Eastern Russian population and the Chinese for him to play the same card of “protection ethnic Chinese minorities”… and nobody from the West would be coming to your aid.

    Maybe I’m talking garbage (after all, I don’t know what I don’t know) – but I would never have believed Russia could invade Ukraine last week. Sometimes a decade happens in a day. I would be looking over my shoulder at the rising power that outnumbers you 10-1, unified under a brutal, callous dictator rather than the demilitarised, risk-averse West hooked on your hydrocarbons and focused on domestic squabbles and largely led by virtue signalling, publicity seeking incompetent clowns.

    I would also be very wary should I be a young man of military age, or a father to any. There are going to be widespread conscriptions to make up the numbers here. I would encourage any Russian parents to get as much hard cash (ideally in dollars or euros) and get their sons out of the country before this happens.

  3. Numbers. As of writing on Day 8 of this insanity, the Ukranians are claiming 9000 Russians killed. Not wounded – killed. Given a conservative 3-1 wounded to killed ration, that’s 27,000 young Russian men wounded. In a WEEK.

    Now, these are Ukrainian numbers so there almost certainly inflated. So let’s halve that number – 4500 killed, 13,500 wounded, 18,000 casualties altogether. For ease of mathematics, let’s further reduce that to 16,000 – that still means that in a DAY, you’re looking at 500 killed, 1500 wounded. And wounded can mean a lost limb or two, blinded, deafened, paralysed.

    Think about that some more. On a conservative estimate, statistically, every hour of this conflict, 20 Russian soldiers die. One every three minutes. And every minute one is maimed for life.

    How long until it’s your son?


    Please, for the sake of your own country, never mind the rest of the world – stop this while it still can be stopped.

If you’ve got this far, congratulations – please spread it wherever Russians are likely to read it. Claim it as your own work, I don’t care, as long as it gets read by people who can do something about it

Terrain Talk Pt. 19 – Epic Imperial Communications Bunker

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

Hmmm..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Was 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!!

Armies On Parade: Heretic Heroic Renegade Rebel Scum Freedom Fighter Terrorists (The Hazzard People’s Front 237th Freedom Brigade)

It’s probably fair to say that one thing EVERYONE on earth has in common, is that 2020 is not playing out the way the wanted or expected it to.

Or if it is playing out the way you wanted, well, f*ck you and the horse you rode in on.

In any case, the lockdown has robbed me of gaming buddy (not a COVID casualty, mercifully, just being careful and following the rules – getting pissed and playing soldiers with your mate hardly counts as essential travel business) , so in his absence I’ve been busying myself with readying a new faction for One Page Rules Grimdark Future / Future Force Warrior / 40k. You’ll have already seen their armour contingent, now here are the lads themselves!

As I mentioned, I think the “Rebel Guerilla” faction are meant to represent the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars, but I kind of like the idea that 40k and Star Wars kind of represent two sides of the same coin.. Luke Skywalker and co. might think they’re fighting for freedom, but in fact they’re just dupes of the Chaos Gods, killing for Khorne, fulfilling the machinations of Tzeentch, their defiance feeding Nurgle.. as for Slaanesh, I guess Leia snogging her brother in Empire Strikes Back ticks that box! Meanwhile God-Emperor Palpatine knows the TRUE nature of “The Force” and knows that only brutal repression can prevent mankind’s corruption at it’s hands.

So with that in mind, pics!

I began with a box of old Airfix WW2 commandos, some greenstuff, cardboard.. and hope!
And we’re ready for primer!
As with the tank, spray primed black as that’s all I had, and then a couple of coats of tan craft paint to get the base coat on
Washed with Vallejo smokey ink thinned with Windsor & Newton acrylic medium
And here they are! The Hazzard People’s Front 237th Brigade (Hazzard People’s Front? F*CK OFF! We’re The People’s Front Of Hazzard..)

I even had a bit of a backstory for these lads – originally part of a PDF territorial reserve unit tasked with internal security operations, these lads were sent to arrest a cell of four individuals tasked with Warp/ Force sorcery… but when they arrived to round them up they found they couldn’t quite remember why they were there, and their CO suddenly found that he bitterly resented propping up a corrupt and inefficient administration that had one law for the many and one for it’s cronies. Ever since then, they’ve been on the run, existing as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them.. maybe you can join The Hazzard People’s Front!

Building on the idea of “baddies who think they’re goodies”, I went with a paint scheme inspired in equal parts by Return Of The Jedi, Rogue One, and the Vraksian Renegades from WH40K. Craft paint tan for the base uniforms, washed with thinned brown and black inks, webbing done with Vallejo Olive Drab. I think it came out rather well, something sinisterish about it but without overplaying it. These lads don’t know they’re baddies yet, remember- skulls and spikes all over everything might give the game away!

Here’s the roster:

Commader – Q 4+ D 4+Carbine 18″ A1, Energy Fist A2 P2, Camo Cloak (Stealth) Wings (Ambush, Flying. Hero, Tough 3 (65pts)

4 Rebel Psychics – Q 5+ D 5+ Pistol 12″ A1 CCW A1, Hero, Psychic 1, Tough 3 (4 x 50pts – 200pts)

Simian Champion Q 4+ D 4 + Claw Gauntlets on Massive Fists A6 AP 1 Rending, Furious, Hero, Tough 3 (55pts)

2 x Rebel Squads – Q 5+ D 5+ 4 troops w/ Carbines 18″ A1, CCW A1, 1 w/ Missile Launcher 48″ HE A1 Blast 3 AT A1 AP3 Deadly 3. Camo Cloaks (Stealth) (2 x 85 pts – 170 pts total)

Striker Squad – 3 Strikers Q 5+ D 5+ Shotgun 12″ A2, Energy Sword A2 AP 1 Rending (105 pts)

Sniper Squad – 3 Snipers Q 6+ D 6+ Sniper Rifles 36″ A 1 AP1, Sniper CCW A1 (95 pts)

2 x Bounty Hunters Q 4+ D 4+ Plasma Rifle 24″ A1 AP2 , Camo Cloak (Stealth), Wings (Ambush, Fling, Hero, Scout, Tough 3 (2 x 65 pts – 130 pts total)

Assault Vehicle – Q 4+ D 2+ Fusion Cannon 24″ A1 AP4 Blast 3 Fast, Impact (6) Tough (6) (180 pts)

Total 1000 pts

Aaaand pics!

Commander Khorr Bynn, former PDF reserve officer, now a fearless warrior in the cause of social justice!
Simian Champion – Loretta, known amongst the crew as Stan
Rebel Psychic cabal – who could arrest these poor innocent souls, merely yearning for a better life and casting the odd spell to try and make it happen…
Sniper squad – basic conversion, just added greenstuff cloaks to the WW2 Airfix Commandos. I can do cloaks. That’s about it though.
Striker squad – these lads like to get stuck in with shotgun and energy swords…
“Look at their glands!” The Millibandorian boys – greenstuff cloaks, cardboard wings and added FN FALs to represent plasma rifles
Finally, the grunts! Rebel Squad 1 and Rebel Squad A, led by Brian and Reg respectively
And one last shot of the 237th ready for action! Although Commander Bynn isn’t at all happy about some of the logos the lads have been daubing on the tank, the psychics – sorry, “differently abled” – all agree that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about..

So there we are, another army to get stuck in with when freedom reigns again! I’m quite pleased with these guys, they should get in close and hit hard – how will they do against Da Skooderia? Or the Hazzard 1977th? Only time will tell!

Stay thrifty out there, but most importantly stay safe, stay healthy and to quote Mel The Terrain Tutor, “Keep Calm And Crack On”! See y’all real soon now

Hyperian Wars: Escalation! A7V Steampunk conversion

Dan and I have been busily working our way through the four – FOUR – boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we wound up buying last year, and don’t y’all be fretting as there’s a big update coming on them. But in the meantime, we’re planning a sequel to the last Hyperian Wars battle report – after a taut pitched battle against the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance, the Virum Nascii are going up against the massed armies of the Ancien Regime.. and with Dan in the hot seat for the little furry guys, I found myself flying the flag for humanity…

Enter the first ever papercraft either of us made, way back in 2015….

dscn1810

Yeah, not great. But the Ancien Regime are going to need every bit of firepower they can get on Friday, because those rats are lethal. So a few nights ago I decided to attempt an upgrade:

Took the original ( a papercraft download from “Landships II” of a 1/72 A7V) – added the rubber holder from the end of a pencil for the main gun, green stuff and guitar string cut offs for the repeater rifles in the nose, drinking straws for the exhausts

Crosses from a foamboard castle kit that Dan’s kid got for Christmas, rivets are dobs of PVA glue added with a bent paperclip

Then came the repaint – grey basecoat, washed with thinned black ink, pin wash pf smokey ink , red and yellow for the detailing, silver washed with blank ink for the metallics. Spot of sponge chipping with craft black paint and drybrushed earth tones for mud, banners drawn out, painted freehand and then wrapped around a paperclip rolled straight (ish) with a rolling pin. And the result…

Oh yeah, and brass painted with craft paint and washed with brown ink, tracks added with cut up IDE cables. Pictured here in situ with some Ancien Regime troops on patrol!

Terrain Talk Pt. 11 – Showcase! Kubica Pass Redux

Right, I’m writing this because Dan a) can’t be bothered and b) is clearly a ludicrously talented terrain builder.

Bastard.

Anyway, a bit of background – back in 2016, we came across an eye opening article on DakkaDakka.com by the magnificently talented 3T studios, detailing how to make “Dynamic, Craggy Hills“. We both were struck by the incredibly cinematic beauty of their work and resolved that our stuff would look like that.. one day.. so I sawed off a hardboard rectangle to serve as base, piled paper mache, and chunks of packing polystyrene on board, along with some pebbles and twigs, coated the lot with PVA and and before painting up and flocking. The result was… ok, I suppose, but it was only a few months later when I realised what was bugging me about it – the base.

Nature doesn’t do straight lines.

So Dan scooped up my baby, took it over to his shed with promises of a more organic shaped MDF base, and a few days later produced this:

 

Bastard. Leopard spotting, cat litter, 3 tone flocking, clump foliage… BASTARD!!!

Curved MDF baseboard… stonework… BASTARD!!!!!

Pictured here with a League of European Nations armoured reconnaissance patrol..

Infantry, support laser and Kugelpanzers

Log and more stonework… BASTARD!!!!

BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there we are, proof positive that Dan is a frankly phenomenal terrain builder and kept that pretty bloody quiet! I’m intrigued to see what he comes up with next…

And if you’re wondering why the name – Robert Kubica, one of our motorsport heroes. His return to F1 might not have been the most successful so far, but we’re rooting for you (and Williams) – and if you want an inspirational story, his is up there… tagged as an F1 star of the future, loses most of an arm in horrific crash, 8 years later makes it back to the top of racing.. tiene cojones, Bobby K. So this terrain piece is for you!

Till next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon 😉

CheapHammer 40k -The 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 1 The Plan

So, hands up who remembers this?

20171109_205218

As it happens, we don’t either – don’t drink and eBay, kids! So, we were wondering what we should do with this haul – loads of Grots, a full complement of 20 Marines, and a couple of Orks in various states of repair… not to mention the cardboard cutout Dreadnaught, plus the very brightly coloured Codex Imperialis and campaign book.

 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only bold primary colours

Now, this raises an interesting, almost paradoxical conundrum – because we can’t afford proper 40k minis, we’d got sunk deep into 20mm (aka 1/72 or 1/76 or HO) gaming, meaning all our terrain was designed and sized for this. So getting our hands on actual 40k minis kind of threw the plans out a bit. As discussed before, we planned on using them as proxies for OOP systems like Firefight, Space Crusade etc (not to mention freely downloadable ones like Deadzone), but with all this… stuff… it was more or less a given that at some point we’d end up giving 40k a try again, and we’ve had a couple of little skirmishes with our new skirmish board.

And yeah, compared to modern systems, this old girl is a bit clunky. But we got to thinking – both me and Dan got into 40k in 1991 (albeit independently of each other and hundreds of miles apart) and by then the 1st edition Rogue Trader had evolved massively from it’s origins as an almost unplayable (in practical terms) RPG/ skirmish game and was heading towards the slick and shiny and GLORIOUSLY colourful subsequent editions. Dan and I both remember getting the 40k box set – and be aware, a 40k box set was a brand new thing back then, never been done before! – for Christmas 1993, and working our way through the mini campaign missions given in the book. If you’re unfamiliar, this set focused heavily on the 2nd War For Armageddon, and featured a three (four?) mission campaign of Blood Angels vs Orks.

Then Dan reminded me that 1993 was 25 years ago exactly.

Hmm. We should mark this occasion.

We did something similar last year, commemorating 30 years of 40k by playing The Battle At The Farm from Rogue Trader using 8th Edition rules, and had a blast, but we figured, you know what? 2nd Ed was our edition. Goblin Green bases, primary colours – the grim darkness of the far future had never looked so appealing. Army lists existed from the drop, rather than being gradually added over six years of White Dwarf articles.

Or  Warhammer 40000 Compilations.

Or Warhammer 40000 Compendiums.

Or Warhammer 40000 Battle Manuals.

You have to figure by this point, the game had evolved quite away from it’s origins, and was badly in need of a rewrite! And so it was…

You bought wargear with cards rather than having a 15 % chance of having it. The thing had been tested, and many mechanics from 2nd Ed actually form the backbone of 40k as we know it now, love it or loathe it. We may not have had Tau or Necrons, but we had Squats, dammit! (at least for a while..) And so begins our new project for the remains of 2018 – painting up the contents of our unwitting haul to replicate those halcyon days gone by – we began with the Marines, and Dan has a load of Grots ready for the camera – then there’s the scenery to make… lots of ruins (which we’ll make 3″ by 3″ to also be Deadzone compatible – muy Skinflint).. plus we have found a very cool papercraft of an Ork Deff Dread… And then come Christmas, we’ll run the whole campaign!

So, here’s raising a glass to our “origin story” within the hobby – we may not be the seasoned grognards in at the birth of it all with Rogue Trader, but we were there for 40k to find it’s feet and become what it is today. And for all it’s (many many ) faults-  it will always have a place in our hearts.

Terrain Talk Pt. 7 – Nutritious, Delicious, (& CHEAP) Sci Fi Buildings

It’s a nice feeling when you can wrap up a project pretty quickly and simply – or, as a wise man once said, “I love it when a plan comes together”!

In this instance, this has come together in a little over a week, and I think you’ll like the result. So sit back, grab a beer, and then go and hunt through your recycling bin!

It all started a couple of weeks back when I picked up a punnet of blueberries for the youngling (his favourite fruit – for now, at least), and after he’d scoffed his way through it, as I was about to throw it in the recycling, I looked at it and thought hmmmmm…. I can do something with this!

Right – blueberry punnet. Left – yoghurt pot lid.. Crosses? They’re all about calibration!

As you can see in the above photo, I’m trying to improve my modelling skills by not simply half assing everything! I measured the interior depression on the blueberry punnet case and drew a centrepoint, then measure the yoghurt pot lid and did the same thing. Gel superglue bonded the two, hopefully irrevocably!

Dead centre!

Look what I found – ping pong ball and bottle cap..

Of course! A radar dish!

Dressed with bits from my Pot of Interestingly Shaped Crap – two wooden caps from Cholula hot sauce bottles, a toothpaste tube cap and something that was once part of a toddler bubble blowing kit..

Added some access hatches, door frames and steps (all cereal packet cardboard)

Primed white with some cheap £1 spray paint (seems there was a run on black in my local pound shops..)

Basecoated with Vallejo US Olive Drab – looks a bit streaky, but remember, two thin coats are better than one thick one (praise be unto thee, Duncan Rhodes)

As you probably noticed, there are some holes in the original blueberry container. So, I glued some nylon tulle (left over from the Skalk Point mega-build) to some card – having measured the gaps, I worked out I would need 8 strips, each 1cm by 1.5. So I cut a strip of card cm by 1.5cm, glued the tulle to it. This would then get painted black ad drybrushed silver to represent ventilation ducts.

Painting involved a layer of Vallejo US Olive Drab,  a wash with thin Smokey Ink, a pin wash with a mix of Black and Smokey inks (thinned, with the target area prewetted as per Mel The Terrain Tutor’s advice), before overbrushing with Olive Drab and drybrushing with the same olive drab lightened with a small amount of bone (avoid white for this, it can make for a “chalky” finish).

Weathering was sponge chipping using black, grey and metallics, and I followed Google Images for guidelines on how to paint a NATO communications bunker to get the grey radar dish idea. This was Vallejo German grey lightened with bone craft paint.

I added some detailing and hazard stripes, then based with a mix of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and green flock. So, pics:

All in all a fun build – a nice centrepiece, and a nice way to thin out my Box of Interestingly Shaped Crap! Still need to get better at hazard straps and lenses, but on the whole quite pleased – it should make a nice centrepiece in our upcoming Apocalypse: Earth game, along with Skalk Point and Bose Cliffs!

As always, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon 😉

Terrain Talk Pt. 6 – Next Gen Hills!

One of the great things about this hobby, especially with the rise of the internet and YouTube, is that you never, ever stop learning new tricks. Certainly, our last terrain post, dedicated to master terrain builder and all round good egg Dakka Dakka user Skalk Bloodaxe, taught us that!

And courtesy of our internet mentors at Luke’s APS and Mel The Terrain Tutor

BoseClifffSitu2

, we’ve learned a few new things since our last round of terrain building. Last year, we bought a big square of insulation foam and 3mm MDF with the intent of revolutionising our collection of hills, and in true SFG style we’ve managed to make….

One.

The problem we’ve had is gradient – trying to get the height/ width ratio with such a thick block of foam is really tricky, so we’ve ended up settling for a big LoS blocker, and as a salute to Luke of Luke’s APS fame, we heretofor dub this “Fellowes’ Peak”. The real issue is having bought to thick of a sheet of foam. Too thick a sheet = too much height = too steep slopes to get up.

That said, it was a pretty fun build. Want to see how we did it?

Step 1: Cut out a piece of insulation foam, hack some chunks out of it with a DIY knife and glue it to a piece of MDF. I tried using a jigsaw but 3mm MDF didn’t respond too well to it – wound up using a DIY knife, scoring the material before cutting through it. Notice the little alcove carved in the left hand corner.

Step 2: Adding texture! Tacky glue and “Hard As Nails” glue used to attach pieces of masonry and bark shippings to what will become the rock facings.

Step 3: Filler! Using a spatula and fingers, we start to create the hill contours.

Step 4: Dressed with cat litter, painted with texture paste (mixed from PVA, sand, filler pwder and water) and undercoated white – yes, white! Stay with me…

Step 5.1: We begin the leopard spotting! Start with washing a dirty yellow, mixed from yellow, brown, and black craft paints, thinned down with LOTS of water

Step 5.2: Dabbed on some brown wash, plenty of overlaps

Step 5.3: Black wash chucked over the entire thing, and black paint to undercoat where there will be earth tones and flock. You can start to see the effect coming together now!

Step 6: With the wash dried, a light bone drybrush pulls it all together and adds highlights.

Step 7: Flocking! I used Mel The Terrain Tutor’s 3-tone flocking method for this, mixing three grades of Jarvis JTF flocks – lowlights, highlights, then midtones

Step 8: Sealed with a spray mix of PVA and water, and then hit with a coat of matt varnish. Then place in situ and enjoy!

And thus was Fellowes Peak born!

A week or so later, I got the itch to do another big piece – I’d always fancied a big corner piece to add drama to the table, and it occurred to me that a big cliff or rocky bluff would be the perfect way to utilise the height that the thick foam gave me. And so, using the exact same methods, over the following week Bose Cliff was created:

The thing that’s been really great about these pieces is how easy the new techniques have made things – I always hated the PVA/ sand stage, it took forever and inevitably made a huge mess. Texture paste is a far better bet, especially when you’re going to be flocking on top of it anyway. As for leopard spotting instead of the traditional grey drybrushing – well, I’m not sure we’re there yet with the paint ratios, but it’s looking pretty fly!

Bose Cliff in situ

I’d also like to take a moment to thank Mel the Terrain Tutor for his video on the three T’s of terrain design – I built this having measured the capacity of my cupboard and also the footprint of Skalk Point, our power substation from the other month, as we’re planning these to be the centrepiece of our big Apocalypse: Earth Summer Smackdown game, just a few short weeks away!

In the meantime, I hope these provide you with some inspiration – good luck and good hobbying, stay thrifty and we’ll check in soon!