Saturday, 25 February 2017

Some Bloke and a Dragon

Count Dirge (Clovis to his friends, of which he has none) has been the lord and master of Fort Dirge ever since the death of his father Beauregard at the nasty little hands of a skaven raiding party, fourteen years ago. In that time, Clovis had held back the marsh and its worst inhabitants, patrolled the main roadways and maintained some level of sanity in the place: considerable achivements, in the circumstances.

Fort Dirge belongs to him: the galleries of mouldy tapestries, the impressive collection of broken clocks, the battlements and stones themselves. Through the hovels inhabited by marsh-sifters and the froglodytes, to the reeking wetlands themselves, Count Dirge's word is law. At least, in theory: outside the endless hallways of the castle, the creatures of the marsh are ruled by their own hunger and fear. Most lethal of them all is the sly and vicious marsh-dragon, which has accounted for innumerable skaven and Clovis' right leg.

I've made some more progress on the dragon. It's got a sleazy, crawling quality that reminds me of the really old Citadel dragons. I couldn't find a head so I ordered some lizardmen terradon heads from ebay. The terradon head was long enough but much too narrow, so I ended up gluing two terradon heads together and filling in the gaps with green stuff. I think it sort of works. The base is done but the dragon itself needs to be painted red.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Fantasy Warband - more unpainted people

Here are two work-in-progress guys for the Warhammer/Age of Sigmar warband (to think of it - me, me, reduced to Age of Sigmar...).

This bloke is the lord of the manor and leader of the warband. He has a new leg made from the barrel of an Empire handgun and bits from various Empire kits, along with a space marine torso.

And this bloke is a fish/frog person made out of a mixture of kroot, orc and bloodletter parts. I imagine that he is a local tracker who has joined the humans to help them find whatever they are looking for. He's meant to be shielding his eyes from the sun.

I really ought to start painting them.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Lady Dirge (2)

Most great houses have their own banshee to foretell the demise of their members. In parts of Brettonia it is considered quite uncouth to die unannounced.

This is the work-in-progress of a sleazy-looking dragon. I've no idea where the model comes from (it was in a right state when I was given it) and I added the wings from somewhere else (again, I don't know where they originated). Obviously, it needs a suitably nasty head.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Lady Anastasia Dirge

Deep in the marshes, in the shadow of Mount Stirben, Fort Dirge rises from the dank ground like a molar in a decomposing jaw. The locals, when they speak about it at all, say that two daemons fought in the marshland in an age long past, and sank into the ground as they wrestled. They claim that Fort Dirge is twice cursed: not only is it rotting, but its seems to change shape from day to day. The grounds are impossible to map, doors open onto rooms that should not be there, and for an outsider to step inside the mansion risks them never being able to leave again.
For the inhabitants of the fortress, though, it is business as usual. The mansion tolerates them, and they are tied to it. Clovis, Count Dirge, sits in his gun room and polishes his metal leg by the firelight, dreaming of the day when he will take revenge on the swamp-dragon that bit it off. Eliza Dirge, his daughter, has retired to the vaults to work on her alchemy. In the warren of passages, the servants whisper bad news to one another: Lady Anastasia, the count's mother, has been sighted on the second floor, brooding and complaining, seemingly unable to grasp the fact that, for the last few decades, she has been dead.

This was a West Wind vampire model put onto a High Elf wizard base. I think she'll probably be greenish white, for a proper spectral look. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Special Smell of Oldhammer

My recent adventures with Dettol have yielded interesting results. Not only do I now smell like a hospital,  but I have managed to strip the paint from a range of lead models, including several marines, two genestealer patriarchs, most of a weird little dragon, two orks and a Keeper of Secrets, a hideous "pleasure" demon that looks as if it has the same relationship with sex as Picasso had with drawing people's eyes on different sides of their faces. So far so good.

I've found myself looking at a lot of metal models of the sort beloved by Oldhammer fans and thinking "What is it about these that's good?" Because, let's be honest, the sculpting is often crude and imprecise, the posing awkward and confined to one axis of movement, the options for customisation very limited. And yet... They do have a certain something. Old Warhammer figures remind me of old D&D pictures, like this:

For one thing, there's the pure nostalgia of being young again. For another, there's the memory of exploring this stuff for the first time, of not quite understanding what the settings were all about, and having the option to buy whatever figures you liked and stick them into some rough approximation of an army ("Space pirates" is always a safe bet if you want to include absolutely anything).

Back then, the rules weren't so hard and fast. White Dwarf contained pictures of orks at the market, and articles about how to depict Belgium in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. When you went to the model shop (often not GW at all) you had the excitement of looking through endless blister packs and sometimes buying something you didn't recognise from anywhere because it looked cool.

While my first instinct was, and is, to jeer at Age of Sigmar and it's lack of rules, perhaps the sheer openness of it could be a good thing. What I would like is a game system with the creativity of Oldhammer and the simplicity of - well, me.

Anyhow, here is an ork of the Snakebite clan that I stripped and repainted. He is a lump of lead, and his head is remarkably free from detail, compared to modern sculpts. But just look at his jolly little face! He's not even grinning evilly. He's just happy. I didn't give him a weapon because he looks too cheerful to be packing a gat. Unfortunately, the matt varnish decided to try out being gloss for no good reason, but it adds to the antiquated feel of it all.

Less cheerful, yet still oddly endearing, are these nasty little genestealer familiars. You used to get a couple with each magus you bought. I expect they run around the cult's HQ, tripping the minions up. The patriarch probably strokes one when he announces his plans to destroy the world.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

On the Removal of Paint from Lead Models

Do you seek the keys to alchemy? Wouldst you learn the secret of how to turn painted miniatures to base metal again? Then attend, scholar, for I shall reveal the way in which thy blobby, paint-daubed model which thou didst as a mere youth may be transmuted to shining silver (well, silver-coloured alloy).

"Pro-painted? Ebay, thou lyest!"

First, take you the following components, with which to work thy magic:

A bottle of tincture of Dettol

A bottle of liquid of Faery

The blood of a toad born on the solstice (optional)

A scrubbing brush

Some kind of prodding tool (a cocktail stick or shaping tool would suffice).

Place thy miniature in a container or chalice. Pour thou enough Dettol to cover it. Leave overnight.

Yes, like this.

Remove the model. The paint should have puffed up and become loose upon the model.

Put a drop of Faery Liquid on the model, and use the scrubbing brush and prodding tool to remove the paint. Warm water will help. Bits of paint will go everywhere, but I doubt that sort of thing would have detered Leonardo or Francis Bacon.

Probably excessive

Wash off the blobs of paint and the quest is complete, although some bits, scales especially, might need a second go and a bit more prodding. You can use the same "water" (Aqua Dettox, as we say in the alchemy game) a couple of times. Forsooth, tis sorcery!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Who Goes First? How Turns Work

Activating a Model

In order for a model to do anything at all, it has to "activate". When a model is activated, it must immediately do everything its player intends for it to do that turn. Once this is done, another model is activated. What this means is that you can't move one model, move another, and then shoot with the first model. It's Model A, then Model B, then Model C. 

Game Turns

A “game turn” lasts from the point where no model has activated this turn to the point where the last model has finished activating – in other words, it’s the time it takes for everyone on the table to “have their go”. Unlike chess, draughts or Warhammer, the sides don’t move by player, so it isn’t a case of one player moving all their guys and then the next player moving all of theirs. This keeps the game fluid and means that both players are constantly involved.

A game will usually take somewhere between 6 or 8 game turns - so each model will have the chance to activate between 6 or 8 times


Priority represents which of the players has the edge this turn where a number of models have the same initiative. It is used to “tie-break” where initiative scores are equal. If you have the turn counter, you can activate a model first.

Every game turn, Priority passes to the other player.

If in doubt, add random clip art.

Order of Activation

Models activate in order of initiative. The models with the highest initiative – usually heroes – move first. A model with Initiative 10 will activate before one with Initiative 9. Where two or more models have the same initiative, the players take it in turn to activate their models. The player with the turn counter gets to move the first model. Then, when one player runs out of models with that initiative, the other player can move all his remaining models with that initiative.

So: I have one model with Initiative 10, and you have three models with Initiative 10. When the turn starts, because 10 is the highest initiative score on the board, the models with that score activate first. You have Priority this turn, and so you can activate a model with Initiative 10 before me. You activate one of your Initiative 10 models. I then activate my model with Initiative 10. You then activate your remaining models with Initiative 10, one after the other.

When neither of us has any models left to activate with Initiative 10, we go on to models with Initiative 9, and so on until we have run out of models. At that point, the game turn ends, Priority goes to the other player, and a new game turn begins.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Servants of Chaos

+++Commencing Transmission+++

My lords,

Following the tragic death of our master, Lord Skullius von Grimslaughter, the crew of the Unmentionable Sin were thrown into despondency. The only time I have seen them less happy was when Lord Grimslaughter was alive.

The vessel drifted through the warp without reason or objective, and it was only by chanting holy verses and consulting the Tome of Haynes that we were able to arrive at the first of the twelve service stations of the Astronomican. Here, we thought our prayers rewarded when we encountered a passing rogue trader, who offered to captain our fleet.

Yet fate swung its fickle sickle again. No sooner than we had left port than we discovered that Captain Sensiblis, our new commander, was none other than the dread space pirate Old Blueteeth, feared throughout the quadrant and renowned for his bloodthirsty deeds and his wild and diabolical crooning. We had no option but to issue a prayer for aid to the local powers.

And even that didn't go well. We soon were boarded by a senior official of the local government, a psyker named Romford Chorizo. From the terrible pallor of this man's face, and the ominous colour of his armour, it was clear that he was an agent of the Great Enemy. 

Thinking ourselves lost to the Ruinous Powers, we took up our weapons and prepared to pay with our lives. Yet suddenly Old Blueteeth leaped into the fray, swinging his scrimshawed power sword and emitting terrifying shanties, maddened by the cocktail of rum, Blue Curacao and lighter fluid from which he takes his name. His scurvy crew set upon Lord Chorizo and his minions, and in the confusion we were able to seal them all in the lower decks.

The voyage continues. It will not end well.

Miserablis the Repentor.

+++Transmission Ends+++