Orks, Marines and Cows!

Got some decent painting in this weekend – not everything I had hoped for (I never get to do that), but a healthy amount nonetheless. I am also trying to instigate a new policy of doing no painting during the week so I can concentrate on writing, and then no writing during the weekend, so I  can recharge the batteries with a good haul of painting.

We’ll see how that works out…

Anyway, this weekend’s painting sessions… A new Ork Truk arrived last week (via eBay), all constructed – just needed to undercoat and get started.


I have a nice system for Ork vehicles now – thoroughly undercoat black, drybrush the whole thing with Gun Metal, and paint Ork skin (Goblin Green). I can then paint the panels in any colour suited to any Ork clan (Bad Moonz here), polish off with any ‘details’ (glyphs and the like), and then drown the whole lot in the Magic Goop. From small buggies to massive battlefortresses, this makes paintng Ork vehicles very, very fast.

This one was well-suited to my growing Bad Moonz as it has lots of gubbinz – the boarding blanks will see my boyz launching themselves into battle, while the wreckin’ ball should put paid to any Dark Eldar raiders that get too close.

Next up, I managed to get some Dark Angels done.


Now, I should perhaps explain here my Dark Angels problem…

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to do a new Dark Angels army – they have always been my favourite chapter and while I had done a fairly extensive force about 15 years ago, those Angels were subsequently sold. Anyway, I thought it would be a nice idea to do the entire 3rd Company. All troops, all vehicles, leaders and support units.

I painted all those models up and they looked good. The trouble began when I started eyeing up my Scouts, Deathwing and Ravenwing companies. I already had abut 30% of the Deathwing (under the old reckoning, the Deathwing is much larger now in the new Codex), a quarter of the Ravenwing, and my Scouts just needed a few more squads and I had a complete 10th Company. Then there were the Land Raiders…

Skip to 2013, and I had pretty much finished the 10th Company (just needs 2 Scout Bikers and, say, 3 Land Speeder Storms and I can call it finished). My Land Raider company (after steadfastedly refusing to pay more than £10 for any Land Raider on eBay) is complete. And I now have well over 60 Deathwing Terminators, along with leaders and Dreadnoughts (haven’t got any Land Raiders for them yet – I figure I could do a company of ten Land Raiders for them…).

Now, all of that is right on the edge of sanity (and comes to about 18,000 points worth, all painted). But then GW released the Dark Vengeance set, which included Dark Angels from the 5th Company. So, I thought to myself. I’m doing the 5th Company now…

I managed to acquire a lot of bolter-armed Marines, but I lacked sergeants, special weapons and heavy weapons. However, a few recent eBay purchases and now I have the sergeants you see above.


And these special weapon marines…

These, added to what I had already scraped together for the 5th Company (two Tactical Squads, the Master, Command Squad, a Rhino, Assault Squad and two Dreadnoughts) means I now have enough models to do 5 or the 6 Tactical Squads. Which would leave just one Assault Squad, one Tactical Squad and two Devastator Squads to complete this company (as well as all the Rhinos).

I ask you, how could I sit there with these models and not do it?


The problem is further compounded by my moving one Tactical Squad out of the 3rd Company, to replace them with robed Company Veterans (haven’t got any at the moment). The trouble here is that I did not want to re-do the squad number transfers, and I had already done the 5th company first Tactical Squad. So, I changed their company markings to make them 4th Company – to join (ahem) the Siege Dreadnought and Master (finished this weekend, pictured above).

As much as I wanted to avoid considering this, it appears I am actively contemplating painting up the 4th and 5th Companies in their entirety. Which, with the 3rd, the 10th and a strong showing from the Deathwing, is half the Dark Angels entire chapter

The question is, am I nutty enough to do them all? Still haven’t decided that.

What I also have not decided is whether to make the 4th and 5th Companies different from the 3rd. One possibility is to make one a complete Drop Pod company – that is quite tempting. Another is to use the army list in the Imperial Armour books and make one a dedicated siege company (already got the Dreadnought!).

Bears some thought.

Of course, the Dark Angels are not made up of Companies alone, and they have other parts such as the Inner Circle and Librarium. And yes, these are getting done too. Here are two Librarians that were completed at the weekend, both from the classic Rogue Trader era. Always found that mixing up character models with those from the old days gives a marine chapter a good feel.


Finally, I polished off some cows and other livestock.


These are intended for our Ancients games, so the Athenians can cross the border and do some cattle raids on the Thebans!

On top of all that, I also managed to get through quite a few High Elf Archers – hopefully I’ll be able to sort them out this coming weekend so I  can show you all next week!


Greeks with Shields

Slowly catching up on the ‘diary’ aspect of this blog – this is what I was doing last weekend…


Finally got round to adding shield transfers to the Ancient Greeks. These are the Spartans with the traditional (though possibly not historical) Lambda device.


For Athens, I am going with individual shield devices, based on either the bearer’s family or his accomplishments/skills. This way leaves me clear to do the Club of Herakles for Thebes hoplites, making all three city states easy to spot on the table.


Finally, got these chaps, unarmoured hoplites. Either poorer guys who cannot afford armour (will work for any city state – even Sparta used the Perioikoi, hoplites who were not true Spartans) or mercenaries.

Over the weekend, I also put together two new Deff Dreads, a Killa Kan and 6 Meganobz for my Orks. The Meganobz will likely be waiting a week to be finished (my weekend is out as I am attending Attack in Devizes), but before leaving for work today, I did the sand on the bases of the Dreads and Kan, and they will hopefully be finished tonight. Photos will follow!

Back – With Greeks!

Okay, apologies first – I have been away a long, long time.

The official excuse is that my camera had a serious failing, and it has taken me this long to get a half decent replacement. I am still playing with all the settings, so expect some experiments with filters and the like (I am really not a photographer by any stretch!). However, it works, it is easy, so expect lots of updates!

Between now and the last post, I have been doing a lot of tabletop gaming – lots of new armies have been built, and I am currently running two RPG campaigns every week. I will update you all on all of this over the next while, with lots of campaign descriptions and lots of photos of painted miniatures.

For now, however…

I am currently working on a new game, a skirmish/campaign system covering Ancients, the Greek City States to Republican Rome. So, that means I have been painting lots of Greeks up recently!

I kicked off with some Athenian Hoplites. Since Games Workshop changed all their paints around, I have been looking for alternatives and have settled on Coat D’Arms for now – they have the advantage of being GW’s exact paints from the original range (exactly the same – they were made in the same factory). So, my paint collection is currently a blend of older GW and these Coat D’Arms pots. I did lash out for GW’s Averland Sunset – just could not resista  yellow that paints straight onto black, but I digress.

These Athenian Hoplites will form the core of any warband from Athens. Heavily armoured with spears, there is not much not to like.


Here they are, led by a Hero (haven’t got hold of the shield transfers yet, but they are coming), waiting for the Spartans to arrive from the sea. Speaking of which…


The Spartans have cunningly bypassed the Athenian welcome party and are trotting along the a coastal path. Incidentally, the ‘aprons’ hanging from the shield of the last Spartan, and most of the Athenians, were designed to catch and deflect arrows and sling bullets – a simple idea that seems to have worked well.


Either city state will be backed up by auxiliary forces, such as these slingers. If they were part of an Athenian forces, they would be lower class citizens who could not afford much more than a sling. If they were with the Spartans, they would be Helots, state-owned slaves who did not enjoy a happy life…

Another thing I have discovered in my research. If modern games tend to give short shrift to the humble spear, they positively spurn the sling. These things could easily out range bows of their time and, in the right hands, could be devilishly accurate. You have to remember, they were among the earliest of invented weapons (spear has been around longer) and lasted all the way through to medieval times. In the end, the sling died out for the same reasons as the longbow – you needed to train with it since childhood for best effect and other weapons (crossbows, then guns) were just easier for the rabble to use.

You can be sure slings will be awesome in the game I am working on!

All these models come from Victrix, and are superb value – you get around 50-odd miniatures in one of their box sets for little more than £20, and you really cannot fault the quality on any level.

I need to bulk out both the Athenian and Spartan forces, and then I’ll be on to Thebes and various mercenary forces. Then, it will be back on to Rome.

I’ll be updating this blog as things happen, but expect a few regular posts over the next month or so as I go back through all the armies I have painted since my last salvo of posts!


Ancient Britons

This is a bit of an odd army.  I never intended to do Britons.  I was building up an Early Imperial Roman force, while Sand did her Gauls.  However, I got around to collecting every Roman model that Warlord did (in some depth, after all, who needs 150-odd Legionnaires if you are doing Warhammer Ancients?), and figured some allies from Briton could be fun.  Things spiralled out of control from there…


This is the model that started to cause the upset.  As may be very apparent, this is Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, on a chariot while her right hand man waves a Roman standard they have just pinched.  Not much good as an ally then, but pretty cool if you are starting a full army of Britons.  Which is pretty much what happened.


Of course, she could not go into battle alone, so I picked up some more chariots to help her out.  Three of these are the only non-Warlord Games models in the army, being plastic ones from Wargames Factory.  I included these because I wanted variety among my Britons (ordered ranks where every soldier looks the same is more of a Roman thing).


This is the first warband of warriors.  My take on these was that each warband would be led by a lord or chieftain (much like Derfel in Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Trilogy), but the number of men they had would vary greatly, depending on the reputation of the leader, how many battles they had fought, how rich they were, and so on.  Thus, every unit would have to be of a different size.  This was a small one, depicting either a very young leader or one who had seen many battles and lost most of his men.

Small Warband

Dogs were a common sight in the armies of Briton and, in the main, I used big mastiffs.  However, Warhammer Ancients only allows you to have one handler (thought this might be changed in second edition, but it wasn’t), so I only ever painted up one.  The problem is, dogs are really easy to paint, so if one was on my table I added it to the army, so now my handler is somewhat over burdened with pooches.

Dog Handler

This is the most recent addition to the army, a unit of light cavalry, described as a hunting party by Warlord Games. As Sand was doing Gauls, I tried to make my Britons as different as possible, following the changes suggested for Britons in Warhammer Ancients and imposing my own restrictions.  So, light cavalry only, no noble cavalry but loads of chariots!

Hunting Party

The character on the centre here was the Warlord leading the army, until I finished the Boudicca model.  Now he has been demoted to being a Chieftain and will take his stand in one of the Warbands.  On the left is the army’s Druid, and on the right the Battle Standard for the whole force – again, an addition made after I found out how useful such things were for my Romans!


I think these guys will gain a lot of attention from an opponent in a battle – 40 fist-throwing naked Fanatics can ruin anyone’s day!  40 is quite an excessive number, but Sand had 30 for her Gauls, and I had to make sure the Britons had more!  Sand usually combos her Fanatics up with a Druid, making them all kinds of nasty, but I may experiment with putting the Chieftain and Battle Standard with these guys, and saving the Druid for a large Warband of more sane warriors.

Note the Roman shield, obviously pinched from the invaders!


I learned the value of skirmishers with my Roman force, where just a handful of them was sufficient to slow down some of Sand’s gauls and allow my Legionnaires to take them on piecemeal.  So, obviously, the Britons had to have some too!  Being Britons, I went with Slingers rather than Archers.


Finally, my largest warband, comprising 40 men and a Chieftain (you can just see his yellow cloak at the front).  I was thinking about doing a unit of 60 next, but sanity must prevail sometime.  This is another army that I will add to only rarely, as Romans and Vikings are just too cool to pass up for what are, essentially, a bunch of barbarians who lost out to the Saxons.


This is not a full 2,000 point force (need quite a few more men for that, probably more chariots too!), but it looks fairly convincing on the table, if it does not completely cover it end to end.  Nor will it ever match my Romans who, weighing in at 6-7,000 points, would need several tables’ worth of Britons to make it an even battle…


For me, Vikings are kinda like Romans – always wanted to do an army of them, but was hampered by a) a lack of a decent rules system and b) more importantly, a lack of a decent miniatures range.

Last year, Gripping Beast did what almost every historical minaitures company of any size in the UK did, and produced a box set of multipart/multipose plastic troops, in this case, Hirdmen, the core units of any Viking force.  And at an astonishingly low price (just £20 for 44 models).

I was set.  Availing myself of their metal range of Vikings to fill in the gaps, Gripping Beast paved the way to a full force of wild Northmen!  I built the army along Warhammer Ancients lines, about 2,000 points with room for some options, though I may end up using Hail Caesar for actual games.  The full army, assembled on the battlefield, looks like this.

The Vikings!

I went for Danes as, well, they were always the hardest and most capable of the Vikings (Norwegians, Swedes and Hiberno-Irish can meet me on the battlefield to settle any dispute there).

These guys are the Ulfhednar, ready to create their own Saga and there are, of course, 12 of them!  Filled with the spirit of the wolf, these are a mean bunch of wild warriors that mess around with the enemy as skirmishers with some serious hitting power.


Meanwhile, these chaps are not actually skirmishers but are to be sprinkled around Hirdmen units as points allow – the famed berserkers.  They are really one hit wonders in Warhammer Ancients, but will do a serious amount of damage before they go down!


Next up is the core of the army, four units of Hirdmen.  Points-wise, they are chuffing expensive in WAB, but you cannot argue with their capabilities.  I got hold of Gripping Beast’s extra sheet of Viking banners, as I quickly used up the ones you get free in the Hirdman box set, and I wanted some variety.  I could also have gone for the Viking Shield transfers they do, but wanted to paint my own more solid colours.  This is actually quite a challenge when you decide to use a limited range of colours and a fixed number of designs, but fancied this would look better than the more intricate designs on the transfers – after all, these are serious warriors who want bold colours on their shields, and not spend time doing fancy designs that would get hacked apart in the first battle!

Hirdmen Unit 1

Hirdmen Unit 2

Hirdmen Unit 3

Hirdmen Unit 4

I polished the army units off with a big block of Bondi (still haven’t worked out the pronounciation of these – Bon-Dee?  Bon-Di?).  Being metal, they actually cost more than the rest of the army combined but, game-wise, you need a large block of more basic troops as the Hirdmen are all effectively elite.  There is also one issue with these metals – they are a slightly larger scale than the plastics, despite having come from the same manufacturer.  It is not something you notice until you put them right next to a Hirdmen unit, but slightly irritating nonetheless.


I gave them a larger banner than the Hirdmen because a) the banner bearer could support it, b) they are a larger unit anyway and c) I figured they had something to compensate for after being around the Hirdmen so much.  I actually wanted to get Thralls instead (the Hirdmen are the professional warriors, the Bondi the local farmers that get called up by the king, and Thralls are basically slaves), as you can have a unit about twice the size you see here but for the same amount of points, give or take.  Yes, they are no way near as good in a fight, but there is method in my madness…

Priest of Odin and the King!

The model on the left is a Godi (Go-Dee? Go-Di?), a Priest of Odin.  My tactic here is to put him with the Bondi and make them completely unbreakable.  Now consider doing the same with a unit of Thralls 80-odd strong!  Just send them towards the enemy’s most lethal units and watch them go.  Sure, they will get steadily slaughtered throughout the battle but, so long as the Godi survives, they will never, ever break, meaning the rest of your army (the elite Hirdmen) can quietly chew through the rest of the enemy unhindered by anything close to being their equal.

The other model is the Danish King (the Danes had far fewer blondes than the Scandinavians, due to their closer proximity to the rest of Europe), in a suitably hard pose.

I will probably not add to this army at all, as the Viking army list is not the most extensive around, and I already have everything I need for as decent 2,000 point force.  However, never say never.  I could possibly use some more Vikings characters, lords and the like, possibly one with a Battle Standard for the whole army (playing with my Romans taught me the value of Battle Standards).  And then, of course, there are the Thralls to consider.  However, this is only likely if I start playing with the Vikings in a serious way, such as in an extended campaign.

One final point to make here.  You may have a wargaming friend that you occasionally buy birthday and Christmas presents for.  If this is so, you have probably been restricted to getting them the odd model or unit here and there.  This year, make it a really good gift – two Hirdmen box sets will set you back only £40 and give 88 models back.  Add in a leader model and maybe some Berserkers, and you will still have spent less than £50.  In return, you will be able to give your mate a full 2,000 point army.

If they are serious about gaming, that will probably be the best present they get that year!

Coming up in the next few posts, another Ancients force, what I have been doing with Lord of the Rings models, and a bunch of models I managed to get finished during this week that will form the core of (another) new army.