Terrain Talk Pt. 4a – Plasma Reactor (1 of 2)

 

January is Austerity Month here at Skinflint HQ, we’ve blown all our cash on gin, biscuits and Last Jedi tickets – so that means a hobby budget of £0 for the first month of 2018. But does that mean that we have to stop making stuff? Of course not – thriftiness is the mother of invention.

And in that vein, I grabbed the glue gun and ventured into the box of Interestingly Shaped Crap that all we gamers keep hidden away in the depths of a cupboard..

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A defunct lightbulb, a CD for a printer that’s long since gone for recycling, the lid from a box of Q tips, some straws and a few bit of card…

I knew when that bulb went that it was Too Interestingly Shaped to throw away (and as luck would have it, I had another one.. stay tuned) – it put me in mind of the Imperial Plasma Reactors from Dawn Of War, screaming to be turned into something sci-fi-esque… and pawing through my box I discovered the Q-tip box lid which could serve as a base/fuel tank/ reactor core, which set the basic shape in my mind. I used a mix of hot glue, tacky glue and polystyrene cement to attach these together (with mixed results, as you’ll see later on..), and then cut some drinking straws to size to function as power conduits/ coolant pipes. A good tip here – drinking straws have very little surface area for contact and glueing, so filling them with something solid is a good idea. I glued a bit of kebab skewer inside each one, meaning I had a decent contact area with the bulb and the lid. I then added a few bits of cardboard detailing to be a control panel of some kind, and trimmed a sheet of granny grating to create access ladders.

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Primed it grey, left it overnight in the shed while I wondered how the hell to paint it next.
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Roughed out a basic colour scheme… and then things started to go awry!

I wanted something that could serve as both an Imperial piece for 40k or Epic and a suitable clunky retro-sci fi piece that could conceivably be a part of a 1950’s superscience project, so I picked Vallejo Olive Drab for the base and body, a generic Boltgun Metal equivalent over  a black undercoat for the base of the bulb and the tubular part got painted blue in preparation for a cool forcefield trick I saw on a Warhammer TV post.

Unfortunately, I encountered a few problems during this phase – for a start, thinnning down my black paint meant that it refused to adhere to the primer.. and then, the water in the acrylic paints began to reactivate the tacky glue (which is just regular PVA with isopropyl alcohol added for faster drying) – meaning the model literally came apart on me!

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That went well.

So after much swearing, and a few consultations on Facebook, I (sorry Dan) slightly reneged on the “no money” pledge of January and bought some superglue and No More Nails, which seems to have done the trick.

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Inelegant, but stable
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Now we’re getting somewhere… (by the way, rivets are dots of PVA added with a cocktail stick)

After the initial colouring, I washed the olive drab with Army Painter Green Tone, pin washed the detail parts (rivets, ladders etc) with a homebrew wash of green and black paint thinned with water and detergent, then drybrushed up with Vallejo Olive Drab, lightened with cheap tan craft paint for highlighting. I added a few streaks and pin washed Vallejo Smokey Ink, and sponge chipped with grey, black and metallic for a weathered appearance.

Following Duncan Rhodes (hallowed be his name)’s advice, I created the forcefield effect by stippling on purple and light blue patches, before outlining the lightning patterns faintly in grey and going over them with white.

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I camouflaged the No More Nails residue around the base by painting it up as mud, highlighting up from dark brown to light brown – and here it is in situ:

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A fair few flaws in the detail, but not too shabby from two feet away.

Guarded by Squad Beauregard from the Hazzard 1977th:

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And there you go, a cheap and (relatively) simple scratchbuild! And now I know a little more about glues and paint… the next model should go alot more smoothly.

Hmm, famous last words. Never mind – till next time, stay thrifty and happy gaming to you all!

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A Green Christmas II: This Time It’s Farcical! Epic Space Marine Battle Report

Seasons greetings all! It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the onset of age, the passage of time speeds up to frankly alarming proportions. I’d swear blind that not five minutes ago Dan & I were raising a glass after a cracking game of the GW classic Space Marine (where the Redeemers Space Marine Chapter fought a valiant action against the villainous Ork hordes of Waaaagh-Bozzhog), and then I check the calendar and discover it’s actually a YEAR.

I know. Shocking. And HIGH time we remedied things.

Back in January, my Redeemers got themselves all tidied up and based, and organised into a 4000pt force and not long afterwards I got busy with the hot glue, cardboard and drinking straws and turned a piece of Christmas present packaging into a majestic Leviathan superheavy command vehicle for the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard regiment..

As it stands, said Leviathan is the the sole Epic scale member of the 1977th, so it would be the Redeemers going to bat again with a token measure of Guard support.. The list looked like this:

Special Cards:

Medic – 50pts

Warlord Titan – Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon – 900pts

Imperial Guard Leviathan – 350pts

Company Cards:

Space Marine Veteran Company – 850pts

Space Marine Devastator Company – 1000pts

Land Raider Company – 600pts

Support Cards:

Whirlwind Detachment  – 150 pts

Terminator Detachment – 300pts

Scout Detachment – 150pts

Grand total – 4350 pts

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The Redeemers Strike Force 01
Now, as some of you may recall, we screwed the maths up a little last time out, so we were determined that this time we were going to get things right, so army cards were checked, double checked and checked again for good measure – this time before the beers came out. For WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Dan was able to bring out all three of his painted up Ork clans, plus the mighty Slasher that had wrought so much carnage last time out:

Special Card:

Slasher Gargant (Snapper, Chainfist, Observation Turret) – 600 pts

Clans:

Goff clan w/ Gutrippa, Bonecruncha, 2 Lungbursta squadrons & Skullhamma Battle Fortress – 1200pts

Evil Sunz clan w/ Gobsmashas, Mekboy Dragster, Bowelburna, Spleenrippa & Nobz Warbikes – 1150pts

Bad Moon clan w/ 2 Weirdboy Battletowers, 2 Braincrusha squadrons, Squig Katapults – 1400pts

Grand Total – 4350pts. And this time we’re sure.

Terrain:

We rolled up a health mix of terrain, including several towns – too many, in fact for the buildings we had supplied in the box so we broke out some of the home made sci-fi terrain we made earlier on in the year (which never made the blog- might have to remedy that) to fill in the gaps. This worked out quite nicely – the Orks would be rushing to loot the vast giga-storehouses of Hazzard’s finest export moonshine, certainly a mission which would require the Redeemer’s immediate attention!

For what seems like the first time in living memory, Dan won the deployment roll off and opted for the southern table edge with a greater concentration of objectives, leaving the Redeemers slightly on the back foot – but not to worry, the Emperor’s finest would save the day and ensure that Imperial liquor cabinets would not run dry on this most festive of occasions! First to 50 Victory Points would be the winner…

Imperial Deployment & Plan

Bugger, I wanted that side! Right, never mind, a Marine is nothing if not adaptable.. looking at the terrain and bearing in mind the experience of the previous game, my rough plan was to get the Leviathan, Devastators, Warlord and Whirlwinds into position and firing as quickly as possible to whittle down the Ork numbers and counterattack with the Veterans and Terminators when the time was right. Scouts would sit on the backfield objective and protect the Whirlwinds while the Land Raiders would act as a fire brigade.

To this end, I placed the armour and the Leviathan covering the open ground on the right flank, Devastators would advance to capture objectives 2 and 3 and plaster fire into the oncoming hordes. I debated what to do with my Veterans and Terminators and eventually decided on something audacious – Veterans would charge forward onto Objective 6 and use that either to springboard an assault or pull back in a fighting retreat onto the Devastator’s guns, while the Terminators would ambush any unwary stragglers. With this rough plan in mind, the Redeemers and the PDF crew of the Leviathan finished their final weapons checks and turned to face the enemy..

Ork Deployment & Plan:

Haha, for once the dice gods favour me! Right, my basic strategy with this army was three pronged – Evil Sunz would loop around and charge in, pinning the main enemy unit in close combat, before pulling out and leaving the central column of heavier but slower moving Goffs to finish them off. Meanwhile the Bad Moons and the Slasher wold provide covering fire and if any close combat targets of opportunity presented themselves, the Slasher would take care of them. Following this, Bad Moons deployed onto the hill with orders to advance onto objective 7 and 5, while the Goffs would charge “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” with the intent of pulverising any Imperial unit foolish enough to stand in our way, and the Evil Sunz would secure Objectives 2 and 3. From there – we’d see what happened..

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The armies deploy..
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Bad Moons hold the Ork backfield objectives and provide covering fire with the Slasher in support
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Goffs mass in the centre, Skullhamma to the fore
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Evil Sunz prepare a flanking charge

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Redeemers Veterans and Terminators, with the Medic, realising they’ve massively misjudged deployment..
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Imperial centre – Whirlwinds prepare to rain fire on the greenskins, Scouts ready to move up to secure objective 8 and protect the artillery while the Warlord gets set to stride into the fray!
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Imperial right flank – Land Raiders and Leviathan anchor the flank while the Devastators prepare to secure objectives 2 and 3
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The view from the Imperial lines… ulp!

Turn 1:

The Imperials won the initiative and forced the Orks to move first. This was somewhat intimdating as the Bad Moons and Slasher grabbed three objectives on the Ork right, while the Evil Sunz floored their throttles and hurtled toward the towering peaks of Objective 3, and the Goffs bellowed a mighty WAAAAAAGH, charging through the buildings in the centre towards the hated humiez!

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Evil Sunz deploy forwards, capturing objectives 1 and 2 and contesting 3
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The Goffs emerge from the Ork centre..
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Bad Moons roll forward onto Objective 7 to lay down covering fire
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A sea of red and green…
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Land Raiders swing out to spring the trap – but will it be enough?
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The Leviathan picks it’s targets…
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Veteran Company take a gamble and charge forward to capture Objective 6 with Terminators in support
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Devastators scale the hill to capture Objective 3
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Whirlwinds bring the pain to the Bad Moons, destroying infantry and Braincrushas
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Leviathan adds it’s Doomsday Cannon to the fray
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Why I hate ball rounds: Pt 1- Before…
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Pt. 2: After…
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Pt. 3 – Dan reminds me that I have – had – a Medic in there, giving everyone a 5+ save
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Imperial firepower pounds the Bad Moons
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The Devastators ready themselves for Orkish assault
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In the open ground in front of Objective 2, Imperial Land Raiders engage the Orks
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And in the End Phase, these two muster up vital Orky psychic energy to unleash the next turn…

Turn 2:

The turn began with a mighty WAAAAGH and the roar of greenskin V8s as the Orks won the initiative and opted to move first. A wave of red and green engulfed the Devastators on the commanding heights of Objective 3 – hunkered down on First Fire orders, the Marines grimly zeroed their sights, waiting until they saw reds of their enemies’ eyes..

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Evil Sunz swamp the Devastators on Objective 3
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Goffs thunder forward toward the Imperial centre
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Forging ahead, the Skullhamma plows into one of the Terminator detachment’s Land Raiders.
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Bad Moons and Slasher lay down covering fire
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Imperial artillery lays into the Goffs, felling ten stands of infantry – the boyz push on regardless!
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The Warlord turns his laser blaster on the Bad Moons, killing some unwary boyz while the Goff Nobz take down his remaining Void Shields
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Evil Sunz assault into murderous fire from the Devastators
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They steam in hard, but the Devastators still hold the hill!
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Meanwhile, the Skullhamma demolishes a Land Raider in the woods..
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..before the Terminator infantry (on advance orders) destroy it in turn. That’s what you get for messing with a man’s ride.
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At the end of Turn 2, the marines hold 5 objectives, the Orks 3 – Imperial fire has detroyed the Skullhamma and broken the Evil Sunz, who are forced to fall back, but the Veteran Company is almost entirely wiped out. So the score stands Orks 24 VPs, Imperials 38!

Turn 3: 

The initiative stayed with the Orks for this one, who opted to move first. The Evil Sunz assault had been a costly failure, but with unexpected good fortune on the other flank – wiping out an entire company of valuable Redeemer veterans – would we be able to refocus and redeploy to take advantage?

 

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Evil Sunz fall back to regroup and rally on Objective 1
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Belly gun reloaded, the Slasher fires another lethal ball round – direct hit, straight to the plasma reactor! The Warlord erupts in a pillar of nuclear fire
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Hunkered down on first fire orders, Bad Moon Weirdboy towers lash the Redeemers, finishing iff the Veterans in the ruins and killing a couple of Devastators – it’s not over yet!
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The Imperial right flank, buttressed by the Leviathan, grinds forward, wiping out the Evil Sunz survivors and reclaiming Objective 1
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As Turn 3 comes to a close, the destruction of the Warlord and the proximity of the Goffs in the gulley to Objective 3 has flipped things around again – Orks now lead 37 to 28!

Turn 4:

With the Warlord down, the Imperial left flank was reduced to a few stands of Terminators, but equally the Ork left had crumbled and the Bad Moons had taken heavy casualties to the point where they were perilously close to breaking – even at this stage, it was anyone’s game!

The Orks won the initiative and opted for a bold, aggressive strategy..

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The Slasher barrels forward to destroy the few remaining vehicles of the Veteran Company and capture Objective 6
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Goffs close assault the Whirlwainds and the Scouts charged with protecting them (note the large smoking crater where once had stood a Warlord Titan…
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Goff Gutrippas against Whirlwinds – not a chance
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Scouts fight valiantly but are overwhelmed and outnumbered
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With the Imperial forces out of position, the charge of the Goffs and the Slasher has pushed the Orks up to 46 VPs, but the Goffs suffer just enough casualties to break them, putting the Imperials on 45…

Turn 5:

The Imperial side won the initiative and opted to go first – with the remaining Orks running wild, only an equally aggressive strategy could pull things back!

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Land Raiders burst through onto Objective 4, laying into the remaining Bad Moons
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The remaining Scouts fall to Goff Nobz and armour, and the Orks capture Objective 8
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Imperial fire cripples the Bad Moons, finally breaking them…
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And as the Devastators recapture Objective 3, it’s all over! 59 VPs to the Marines, 46 to the Orks.

Conclusion:

What a game! Right until the end it could have gone either way, especially after the Warlord disintegrated (as he seems wont to do every game).. and the ballsy charge of the Goffs and the Slasher almost swung it. Had the Evil Sunz assault gone better it would have been all over for the Marines, but Dan admitted to getting to unfocused, trying to capture Objective 2 as well as carry the assault. A bit more concentration of force would have enveloped the Devastators and most likely annihilated them. And what the hell was I thinking putting my entire Veteran company in the warehouse?? I may as well have left them at home!

The Goffs are a weird bunch, clumping infantry and tanks together means something very hard hitting but at the same time hard to position right, and it was only really Turn 4 when they were in position to do something significant – and by then they’d suffered enough casualties to have broken. Dan’s going to try mounting them in Battlewagons next time… ulp.

Most Valued Player for Dan was undoubtedly the Slasher, 600 pts but chewed it’s way through 1850 pts of Marines and Titan – nearly half my force! For me, I was impressed by the Leviathan, it’s long range cannon let me put the hurt on the Bad Moons from the opposite end of the table, and in the end that helped push us over the line.

So while we mourn our Veteran brethren and Warlord (and Scouts.. and Whirlwinds.. and Dan managed to kill a stand of Terminators to break them too..) the Leviathan leads a battered taskforce of Land Raiders and Devastators to secure the remaining precious stocks of Luna Luceat liquor. The Imperial Festive Season must go on!

Happy New Year everyone, stay thrifty into 2018!

 

 

Product Review – 4D Models

So you may have noticed in our last few posts some rather nifty looking additions to both the Atlantic Alliance and Holy Soviet Army factions:

 

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M42 Mirage Tank

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SU-152 Assault Gun

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T-48 Medium Tank

And you may have wondered (given our predilection for making our models out of cardboard and junk in order to avoid spending money) just where we got them from – they certainly look a bit slick for chopped up pizza boxes, drinking straws and IDE cables.

In fact these are snap fit plastic 1/72 model kits from a Chinese manufacturer billing themselves as “4D Models” – £8.99 from Ebay for a pack of 8, including the M42, the S-15, the T-48 (a T-55 in the real world), along with a mine clearance vehicle, an M1 and a Leopard 2 as well as a T-72 and a Type 63.

Now, it hadn’t occurred to me to do a product review until I came across this video –  essentially, it’s Games Workshop’s Duncan Rhodes (the most serene man on the internet) explaining why, after spending £200 + on a toy tank from Forge world, you should have to arse about with it for several hours before you even glue the damn thing together. Now, this is not a GW hate page, I appreciate the concept of “profit margin” and I don’t begrudge it.. but if you’re going to charge £200+ for a TOY TANK the thing should go together with the absolute minimum of fuss. Joints should be clean and smooth, flash a bare minimum. You certainly should not have to spend yet more money on “Liquid Greenstuff” to fill in the gaps, and then sand them down – I’m sorry but Tamiya, Revell, Airfix.. these guys don’t have those sorts of issues and the prices are far lower. In fact, I’m writing this on a laptop that cost less than their new superheavy, and you know what, I turned it on and it just worked. I didn’t have to resolder any joints or replace any cables before I could switch it on and use it.

Anyway, rant over – Our 4D kits occupy the opposite end of the scale – dirt cheap, 20 piece (ish) kits with rubber band track assemblies.. but you know what? They pushed together – no glue needed. They paint up well – there’s a fairly decent amount of detail molded onto the bodies and wheels (check out the engine grills, the tow cables and shovels – all molded on, present and correct). The tracks fit. The turrets fit. The turrets move, the gun elevation can be adjusted. They’re light and sturdy, the scaling certainly seems correct to my enthusiastic but untrained eye – they’re never going to be winning awards from high-end detail obsessed modellers, but for a wargamer, I think they’re fantastic. They’ve been panned in the only other product review I’ve been able to find but they’ve worked very well for us.

My only criticism? You get eight different kits, eight different vehicles, vaguely linked by era, which is not so great for a wargamer. So 4D, whoever you are and wherever you are, do this one thing – let us specify what eight kits we want in a box. If I could specify a box set of T-54s or M113s, we would be snapping these up and so would a great many others. You will win many friends amongst the cost conscious and bargain seeking wargaming community.

And Forge World? Take a hint.

Ooops….

We’ve all been there. It’s late, beer/ wine/ cocoa in hand, money in the PayPal account, browsing eBay… you find something that looks too good to be true, you put a bid on it thinking “what the hell”, the next morning you get THAT email:

“You WON Item no XXXXXX”

Ah, crap.

In my case, what I had won was this:

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Don’t drink and eBay, kids!

So I duly paid my £10 plus postage, and a couple of days later I was blessed with the arrival of a semi complete copy of the 2nd Ed 40k box set plus the Dark Millennium expansion. Now, I’m assuming the seller held up their end of the bargain, because I can’t remember the details of what I bid on, but what I got was:

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20 Space Marines
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Not awful, but I think there’s room for improvement – will bathe them in meths and have a go myself!
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A pair of Ork’s – one mostly ‘armless…
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Lots a’ Grots!
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What to do with you little fellas…
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A TON of cards- man, we hated trees back in the day!
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100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

Now, quite what to do with this unexpected new acquisition – we’re pretty deeply committed to 20mm as our scale of choice with a load of new scenery built for that scale, so the minis may remain display only.. suppose the Grots could be some sort of Ogre race, the Marines some sort of gigantic superhuman genetically altered superwarrior (hang on…), and the templates are all gauged for 28mm.

So we pondered for the length of a beer and though “F**k it, who cares?” – we’ll use the templates and our wee 20mm minis and run some retro mini 40k for giggles. A serendipitous rummage through the loft yielded up the  2nd Ed Guard and Ork codexes from the mid 90s, tattered but unbowed, so we set about tweaking the Hazzard 1977th and Da Skooderia to be 2nd Ed legal. Results will be posted over the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to running some retro 40k with teeny models! And let’s not forget Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi spinoff, where humanity takes it’s first steps into a wider galaxy…. we can call this market research!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon 😉