16 Apr 2019

Another done!

The loooooonnnngg running VSF is still going.

I've managed to finish off another Aeronef. The Oriental faction have finally got some transport!

I've got three more aeronef waiting for their instructions to be done and sent back to Blotz and then I just need to get on and design the Prussian flyers. Must get on!


3 Apr 2019

More designs!

After designing the submarine last year my thoughts had moved back to a concept that had been rolling around my noggin for a time.

I’d been think about a set of walkways, mostly inspired by Star Wars, could be interconnected and had additional pieces to add flavour to the set. Now walkways have been done plenty of times before so I wanted to do something that made the set different.

I toyed with the idea for a while until my first eureka moment which was when I cottoned onto the idea that the joins could be handled using a ‘jigsaw’ piece connection that was echoed throughout the set. So I merrily came up with an interface and proceeded to try and create the walkways that would be the constituent parts of the set.

Whilst drawing up the intial walkways themselves I bumped into the question of hand rails. Now the Star Wars setting isn’t always particularly strong on handrails as they seem to hamper the leaping and fighting for the Jedi and their enemies. However I wanted them because it wasn’t just going to be for Star Wars Legion, I wanted it to have a wider sci-fi use.

Then I had the second eureka moment when I ended up handling how to interface the handrails between pieces. It became apparent that they needed to marry up and be inter-connectable like the jigsaw connections for the main body of the walkways.

After quite a bit of jiggery and swearing I finally managed to get a working design and merrily set about design the rest of the set. Two weeks later and it was done and I was excited to get them into production…..which for a variety of reasons hasn’t happened until this year.

I’m pretty happy how they have turned out. The kind folks at Blotz made some, in hindsight, very sensible tweaks regarding the height which has finished off the set just right.

Given how busy they are at Blotz getting ready for Salute I offered to paint up the set for the stall. Couldn’t wait to get my mitts on it!

I’m really pleased with it! Now to see what people make of it at Salute!


Tally up to 68!

18 Mar 2019

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge reward

A few years ago I stumbled across a fun little thing on the internet - a bunch of people who collected miniatures and had decided they needed motivation to get them all painted up.  So they decided upon a scoring system (bigger scales/models get more points) and they made blog posts about them on the same blog to encourage each other to get things painted.  The community of gamers and painters on the "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" was such fun that I'm now on my fourth year!  It runs for about 3 months from December to March and is responsible for the vast majority of my painting output for the last few years.

Anyway, you can have "side duels" against other entrants where you challenge each other to paint the most points of something.  Two AHPCs ago (yes, two) I lost a duel to GregB which was based around how many points of Horus Heresy miniatures we could paint.  Greg absolutely smashed me and when I asked what figure he wanted, he asked for a survivor of the Drop site massacre..... Little did he know it would take me two years to actually make good on my promise (insert embarrassed smiley face here.....)  Now, for background, there were 18 Space Marine legions at the time of the Horus Heresy.  Four of them turned rogue and purged the loyalists in their ranks.  When this was discovered, 7 loyalist legions were sent to the Istvaan system to destroy them, attacking from space onto the Drop site where the four traitor legions were dug in.  Three legions made up the first wave and then the remaining four legions dropped in the second wave.... but these last four legions had also secretly turned traitor and so the 3 legions from the first wave were massacred in the crossfire with very few escaping.

It took me quite a while (and more than one abandoned idea) before I came up with what I wanted and here he is - Barek Furibundus, Dreadnought.

Barek is a dreadnought from the Salamanders Legion, one of those massacred in the drop.  The Salamanders revere and hunt giant lizards on their home world, hence the trophies on the carapace.  He fought bravely in the cauldron of battle, but suffered critical damage to multiple systems.

Left for dead, he was recovered by a scratch force including some from the Iron Hands legion, who are notoriously good with machines.

Repairing his cogitator system, but unable to save his original left arm and right foot, they salvaged alternatives from a Dreadnought from the Word Bearers legion - one of the traitor legions.

Deciding that having Barek rejoin the fight was worth the use of the heretic equipment, they effected battlefield repairs and so he fights on.  The Wordbearers Legion iconography has been crudely scratched off (decals added and then scratched/painted over..... am I mad?!?!?).  With his group managing to escape the battlefield on a commandeered Thunderhawk, Furibundus will fight on across the worlds of the 31st millennium, opposing the forces of Horus wherever he can to avenge his fallen brothers...

Anyway, a massive thank you to Greg for being a total gent and never once chasing the (long) overdue duel-gelt whilst I faffed around not knowing what to make for it.  I've also left the base unhighlighted as despite zooming in on Greg's Horus Heresy bases, I couldn't find a brown in my paint collection to match so figured Greg could highlight and add some tufts to make him fit in better with the forces he'll be fighting alongside.

7 Mar 2019

Converted Blackstone Fortress Adventurers

I've cracked it.  Three posts and all of them on the same topic.  Which is now finished.  And allows me to play the game with all painted miniatures.  It's a good job I'm sitting down as I type this as the last time I achieved anything like this was the previous Warhammer Quest game GW did, "The Silver Tower"!  So I now present the Adventurers from the Blackstone Fortress game.

First up, the Rogue Trader (middle) himself and two of his buddies

Rogue Traders go waaaaaaaay back in WH40k.  The first game was named for them after all.  They're essentially captains of lone ships or flotillas of ships and their remit is to explore the galaxy, investigating things and generally getting rather rich in the process.  Bit like Christopher Columbus in space.  They can have crews of specialists, Imperial Guards regiments and even space marine assigned to them to help them do whatever needs to doing spread the word of the Emperor, find new planets, contact new races and either steal their stuff, or kill them and then steal their stuff.

My Rogue Trader mixes kits from Warhammer Fantasy Battle and the 40k world and I'm rather pleased with his arrogant manner and gesture.  The adventurers in Blackstone Fortress represent the Rogue Trader Janus Drake and the motley crew that he's surrounded himself with.  The other two are a Kroot mercenary, now working with him (not much converting needed here, just a selection of stuff added and a pelt) and the Navigator.  Navigators are the mutant psychics able to pilot ships through "Warp Space" using their third eye which grows in their forehead.  I chose a helmet with something that could be a third eye and I rather like the staff which is also from a mix of kits.

Next up are the Mechanicum related adventurers.  The two little chaps are Ratlings (Halflings in space) and one is a sniper with the other having a tracker and other assorted gubbins instead.  They started life as goblin bodies and with a few choice Imperial guard and skitarii parts they become ratlings.  The heads come from an old bretonnian sprue as  they really looked the part for me.

The last chap is the large robot explorer.  The one in the boxed set steps outside the usual Grimdark aesthetic and GW explain that he is a relic of a bygone age.  I like my future properly Grim and Dark though, so I converted him to be  a mighty servitor (cyborg) with an unfeasibly large gun and pinchy power claw....

The last three are the religious pairing of a lunatic who likes to burn heretics and then chop them up with the chainsword that he's welded to the underside of his flamer (don't try this at home kids!) and a preacher who likes to read Harry Potter whilst slaying the unbelievers.  The third one is an Eldar and he's based on a fantastic Dark Elf assassin model who has been 40k-ified with the addition of a shuriken catapult and stuff on his belt.

Lots of different parts in all of these and a real blast to build.  And we've even started playing!  Here are some of the adventurers in action.

It's a great little system and we absolutely smashed it.  However, it's a legacy game and so you draw a card to see what gets added to the game after each expedition...... and after the first expedition we drew the mighty Chaos Lord so we may see him sooner than we'd like - yikes!

1 Mar 2019


In the effort to help get some of the myriad of games we have actually onto the table top I was happy to assist Junta with some of stuff he has for Carnevale.

Slightly quirky figures but that's what makes them fun to paint!

Tally is up to 41 for the year!


24 Feb 2019

More converted Blackstone Fortress Adversaries

In a fit of good sense and concentration rarely witnessed anywhere near my painting table, I managed to keep on going with the Blackstone Fortress figures and have now completed all of the adversaries.  I figured I'd get these done first and then treat myself to the Adventurers.

They're all converted/re-purposed and the first lot are the Traitor Guardsmen.  These are converted from the plastic chaos cultists set of figures.  A fair few head swaps and arm/weapon swaps with plastic Cadian guardsmen to make them more traitor guardsmen than generic cultists and lots of Imperial guard kit (radio pack, canteens, etc) help them along, as does the standard "army" green and brown paint scheme.

I've always rather liked beastmen, so I was pleased when I saw GW were including them in the Black Fortress game.  When I started 40k, back in the "Rogue Trader" first edition days, the Beastmen were part of the Imperial Guard.  They operated in abhuman packs and served in order to pay penance to the Emperor for having been born mutants!  I decided to bring this idea back and so my beastmen conversions are built using plenty of Imperial Guard kit, including a couple of breastplates.

The awesome flagellants kit helped too, with  bell, weapons and arms

Next up are the big baddies - Chaos Space Marines!  These are smashed together from all sorts of chaos space marine and space marine kits and leftovers from other conversions.  I've always found the Black Legion a little boring (as well as not really wanting to paint black armour.....) so I went for my favourite traitor marine chapter instead - Word Bearers.

The Wordbearers are the real baddies of the 40k world, having been the ones who started the Horus Heresy in the 30k setting by making pacts with daemons and dragging other discontented legions in with them.  I'm particularly pleased with the Chaos Lord as he uses a cloak I really like.  For his helm I found the largest and most OTT helmet I could (not too hard in GW kits!) to help him stand out and hopefully catch his horns on the ceiling of the fortress, allowiing us adventureres time to escape.....  The other two are deliberately kept quite standard to help the lord stand out even more.

One of the fun things about converting is how ideas come to you whilst converting, like the idea of making my beastmen part of abhuman imperial guard squad.  The idea for the Rogue Psykers came when I decided to do Wordbearers as my chaos space marines.  It occurred to me that instead of doing psykers like the ones in the box, I'd instead make them the leaders of the Guardsmen, who have been given to the Wordbearers to make into daemonhosts.  It's this that gives them their horrifying psychic powers......

Some masked heads, a bell and an unholy tome with stocks completed the look and the gold breastplate marks one out as the captain.

22 Feb 2019

Blackstone Fortress converted adversaries

Now, I've always been a bit of a Games Workshop fanboy - Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy Battle were what brought me into this hobby.  It's no great secret that GW diverged somewhat from what made them so successful during a lot of the 2000's....... but they've recently rediscovered a lot of what made them such a big draw in the 80's & early 90's - actually giving the customers what they want instead of telling customers what they should want and utterly ignoring them.  Mind blowing stuff, for sure.....

One of the things they've rediscovered is that wargamers rather like full games in boxes with great figures and so they've recently been churning boxed games out as often as they can.  A couple of years ago I bought the reinvented Warhammer Quest game (basically a dungeon crawl where you're all on the same side against AI controlled enemies) and our gaming group really enjoyed it, so when GW announced the next Warhammer Quest game would be in the 40k universe, I was absolutely in!

I decided to do something a little different though and despite the lovely figures GW were including in the game, I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to instead convert all the required figures from miniatures and parts that I already owned.  This would give me something unique, save a bit of cash and scratch the converting itch I always have.  Oh, and attempt to ever so slightly rebalance the wargamers scales, which are always heavily weighted towards buying shiny things instead of painting them.  So, I picked up all the game parts you needed to play for a song from eBay and got converting..... and I now present the first completed figures.

These first chaps are my take on the "Negavolt cultists" - lunatics who seem to have taken to electrocuting anyone who strays into their territory.  As you do.  I had some bodies from the old empire flagellants and having found some oversized power arms, they reminded me of fiddler crabs so I went with one massive arm and almost nothing on the other side.

Weird electro machinery on the back finished the look.

These next ones are my version of spindle drones.  The "proper" ones are a little metallic and clean for my taste, so I added some 40k weirdness with odd little robed individuals.  Are they robots, cyborgs or something else entirely?  We may never know....

Now, having said I was going to convert ALL of the figures, I now must admit to not converting these next four.  At all.  In any way, shape or form.  I stuck to that resolution about as well the one I periodically make to stop buying figures until I've painted a load of what I already...... I just really liked the figures and so caved in and bought myself some.

Anyway, these unsavoury fellows are Ur-Ghuls - ghoulish monsters who seem to use warp space to stalk their prey.  Or something.  Anyway, I suspect I wouldn't like to meet them down a dark alley, but they were delightfully easy to paint and hence why they leapt to the head of the painting queue.

And here they are, all together in the class photo.