Wednesday, 24 May 2017

100,964 views... THANK YOU!

I would just like to thank you all for getting my page views of this humble blog past 100,000.

Rest assured I am still active, and these kind of numbers inspire me to keep on. My absence in the last week or so has been due to working 12 hour days on the basing of almost 1100 6mm WW2 Germans for a client, which has meant I have had little time for writing.

Fear not... Eye candy will follow very shortly.



Sunday, 14 May 2017

Norman Wisdom?

Last night I made up for what had been a very stressful Sunday, with an eBay purchase of a rather pretty 28MM Norman army.

In the end it cost me £615, which was higher than the limit I had imposed on myself, but, having disposed of 80 per cent of my model railways, and it being as I said a rather pretty looking collection I threw caution to the wind and blitzed the other competing bidder.

Expensive, I guess but actually not bad when you break down the bare metal cost, add in the materials and then look at the per model painting cost.

When you add the cost of the Byzantines, and divide the total cost of the two by pieces, you get a very reasonable £2.29 per piece.

Anyway, here's the stuff you are really wanting to see...


I Find My Lack Of Self Restraint Disturbing...

Yesterday saw a gang of us trooping down to Warhammer World because (and I think I should be candid) we are the wargaming equivalent of crack whores in need of scores.

You see, the new edition of Warhammer 40K is actually looking as if it is something which old sweats like us can jive with and learn to love like a long lost brother who, after running away from home with the contents of the family safe and living the life of a surf bum in Baja, has returned home to be welcomed back to the family bosom, whilst being treated with caution, 'just in case'.

It took two of less than ten minutes to put away £300 of purchase on 5 items later increased by about half as much again. Damn, but the Forge World store works powerful voodoo on the wallet.

I came away with:

1 x Dark Eldar Tantalus
3 x Eldar Jet Bikes
1 x Prince Ymriel
1 x Eldar Wasp
1 x Eldar Hornet
2 x sheets of decals for an old, old friend who resides in Japan, but still feels the draw of the Dark Empire even in the land of the rising sun.

We dined well on some very good pizzas and coffees and then made our way home after I had been discouraged from spending £500+ on an Eldar Phantom class titan in 28mm. I was 'this' close!

I did something I rarely seem to do these days and sat at my desk until I had built a set of 3 Eldar Hornet light tanks, then checked in on social media to find that the previously mentioned friend in Japan, the learned and enlightened Darren Ashmore PhD was offering up something very nice for sale... Namely his 'Saberforge' custom lightsaber which is the absolute dog's bollocks to coin a phrase.

Now, as you know I have a thing about dressing in black and posing around - I blame it on several years of being a Goth in the 80s (No, I was not there when they sacked Rome). Thus, the chance to get all Sithy was too much... I reasoned, I rationalised, I looked in my wallet and was defeated wholesale. Darth Dibbler had me on the ropes and money changed hands (and I will say that the price was VERY fair indeed for a film grade, metal, sound FX-equipped prop like this:

Thus it appears that Darth Bastard will be coming to cosplay events near you in the near future. I can hardly wait to get my sweaty hands on this fine piece.

So, this weekend has been an expensive, exhausting but in the end very pleasurable one indeed.

TTFN, and may the force be with you...

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

At The Gates Of Byzantium

If there is one army I have never got the hang of, it's Byzantines.

They are for me the metaphorical albatross necklace. The first time I used them, I was facing Vikings and got pasted.

25 years later, I faced another Viking army and once again got my Skutatoi handed to me on a plate.

I then took the Vikings and faced the Byzantines - and yes, I lost.

So, you see, my approach to Byzantines has been to admire them from afar but not get intertwined with them.

Until today...

I was looking for Eldar on eBay the other day and somehow came across a rather sweet looking Byzantine army, made up of 28mm Essex Miniatures castings f which I' a great fan as you may know by now. Anyway, I bid, was outbid and then bid again and I won them for less than the bare metal price including £20 for shipping.

I am very happy indeed, having paid £350 for a fully painted army which even if I get pasted in historical games, will do very nicely indeed as a fantasy army.

Here are a few pics:


Friday, 5 May 2017

Lizardmen & Where The Hell Did I Put That Rule Set?

You will recall that I espoused the aesthetics of the Lancer Miniatures range of 28mm Lizardmen last week?

Well, I ordered 204 pieces of reptilian goodness that very day, and as I type they are supposedly on their way to me.

I went for:

84 armed with sword and shield

80 armed with two handed weapons (but as they are open handed, 60 will be armed with pikes - more of this below)

40 armed with spear and shield

The problem with Lizardmen is that they are slow... Bloody hard to kill, but slow. They pretty much always strike last and are even slower than a lot of basic undead troops. So what do you do?

Well, a basic Lizardman has 2 wounds in Warhammer 1st/2nd ed and a natural 6 saving throw, so they are tough buggers to kill if you give them even just a shield. But, if you arm them with pike they can be frankly, bloody lethal!

Pikes give a +3 increase to initiative. And with pike the extra reach means that you get attacks with eack member of the unit behind another model which itself was able to attack, at cumulative -1 modifiers. Thus if you have a unit with pike in 5 ranks of 4 models strikes normally with the front rank, at -1 with the 2nd rank, -2 with the 3rd rank and so forth. Thus you can really punch a hole in opposing units with bold movement and a narrow yet dense frontage.

This was one of my favourite armies back in '84 so I have high hopes of glory on the table top.

Earlier in the week, I was raving through the studio here in the Dark Tower looking for my 2nd edition Warhammer rules to see how Lizardmen differed from those in 1st ed (not much actually) and I could not for the life of me find that wonderful red box of memories...

 I know that there should be one lurking here, but try as I might, I could not locate it. Thus I ended up paying a scandalous £27 for a new set. OK, it;s in really nice condition, but it is driving me mad that I can't find my old set.


A Return To The Bad Old Ways?

Back in the day, when Games Workshop released the Rogue Trader rules, I enjoyed it immensely as it was not unlike the old Laserburn rules by TTG, and it was fun.

I confess, that I don't like the more modern sets which over the years became abstract and frankly boring.

You lost the sense of fantastically powerful weapons and races and it seemed that it was frankly something of a waste of time.

BUT... I still sort of liked the models.

Anyway, GW have recently announced an 8th and definitive version of the rules which seems to be returning to the feel of the original set but streamlining it. What is most exiting is that any weapon in the game is now dangerous and the stat lines which were originally topped a value of '10' are now effectively open ended which means that truly powerful vehicles and critters actually can be.

It's also going to be a community driven project with players having noticeable input to the game - just like the good old days.

I confess that I am actually tempted by this. Which, is just as well because...

On one of those whims which afflict me so often, I purchased a 40K army on Wednesday because it looked pretty:

And so it looks as if - because of two unconnected yet symbiotic bits of browsing - I am heading back to the bad old days.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Catching The Vibes - A Holistic Approach To Vintage Gaming

It's no secret that I am a bit unconventional in the way that I create my personal universe and how that in turn infiltrates and indeed infuses my gaming.

I surround myself with a lot of 80s cultural stuff, such as an immense collection of 80s comedies and sci fi movies, music, books, advertising and sometimes, as today, a bit of 80s technology.

For the most part it never gets used, but lurks on a shelf in my studio and will be looked at and the spirit of  80s coaxed from it in an almost occult and ritualistic manner.

Today I was browsing in a charity shop for the usual 'scoops' of games and books, when I walked past a stock room, the door of which was open. Well, what caught my eye was a genuine 1979 Sinclair Microvision 1 3/4 inch screen portable T.V. I asked if it was for sale and was told 'Yes, but it's not been tested.' to which I responded that it was fine, I'd take the risk. The lady then passed me another box containing the Sinclair adapter- again untested.

I was asked if £4.00 was OK and agreed that yes it was in deed, very much so in fact.

This is an iconic bit of tech which was one of those Sinclair products that ate away at the company finances, but which was a great bit of kit and very, very functional.


It's also the kind of  thing that I remember as 'cutting edge' and very much 'of the future/of the age' and by extension the very kind of thing from which I draw 'vibes' or 'juice' and which in turn is transmuted into enthusiasm for my old school gaming which has I confess been a bit stymied of late as my own energies have waned and fatigue levels increased for reasons unknown.

Oddly, I also today found the Lancer Miniatures Lizardman range. Remember that I get empathic 'sugar rushes' and genuinely believe that if I pay my respects to to history, history will respond in a like manner and show me the right path.

Whilst they are contemporary models, the Lancer range truly channel 'old school' and tick every box for me:

1. They are classic looking Lizardmen
2. they have integral metal bases
3. They have enough variety without too much of same.
4. Priced sensibly as low as £1 per figure when you buy units of 20, two hundred pounds will get you 4000 points without upgrades or characters under 1st or 2nd ed Warhammer.

You can buy them here:

Anyway, I hope you found this instalment's ramblings interesting, and perhaps you'll try a similar experiment. Another great experiment is eat the food that the historical armies you are researching would. When I was reading a lot about the war in Afghanistan, I often ate the same breakfast commonly taken by the Mujahideen. I found it really focussed me.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

More Mice At The Dark Tower

OK, so strictly speaking this is not game related, but in actuality for me, it is.

The works of Graham Oakley and his Church Mice series of books are what turned me on to the imaginary, with comics coming shortly afterwards, thence to the seminal 'Giant Under The Snow' - a must read kid's book for every adult and one which I'll one day convert into a Cthulhu scenario - and eventually into gaming and the unlimited fantastic worlds which it offered.

Today I received a packet in the post from Mr Oakley, having purchased a second piece of artwork, this time from page 4 of The Church Mice And The Moon, a personal favourite amongst favourites.

So, I think I'll let the artwork do the talking:


Friday, 21 April 2017

Heroics & Ros, Salute Forthcoming Releases Preview

Today is the the biggest day in the UK gaming calendar with the Salute show.

Heroics & Ross have a literal swathe of new releases, and for those of you unable to get to the show, I'll give you a sneak preview.

So, here are some of the things that you'll be able to see previewed today on the Heroics and Ros stand at Salute. 

Andy has asked me to point out that the actual release will be a staggered one, but I was so breathless and excited that I have been allowed to show you everything now...

Shall we begin with a few assorted items?

Next we have a few WW2 German releases:

And next a really stunning little range of LRDG figures:

Now, let's hot up the plate, with a massive range of British Ww2 Airborne models, with a hint of US and a British infantry crewed gun:

And not forgetting those of you who prefer something later, here's a massive range of Cold War East Germans: