Saturday, January 29, 2011

As promised...

Well, I finally had the opportunity to photograph all the Napoleonic British I've been painting over the last month. Above is the "group shot" of all that I've painted so far. Almost 250 models, that's a lot of red! Here's a link to the shot of what I had finished by December 16 last year. It'll give you a bit of an idea how much I've painted in the last six weeks or so.

So the army now stands at:
• 2nd Regiment of Foot Guards (Coldstream)
• 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards
• 60th Regiment of Foot (Royal American Rifles)
• 74th Regiment of Foot
• 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders)
• 1st Battalion of King's German Legion
• 2nd Battalion of King's German Legion
• 2nd Battalion of Caçadores (Portuguese light infantry)
• Battery of Royal Artillery
• Battery of Royal Horse Artillery
• Commander and Sub-Commander

Here's the new Battery of Royal Horse Artillery. After finishing work on the "Artillery Through the Ages" issue of Wargames Illustrated (out in late Feb), in which one of the articles covered Napoleonic Horse Artillery, I felt it was only right I get my battery painted up. With much less red and white to paint than the standard foot regiment, these guys painted up wonderfully quickly. I was just putting the finishing touches on the officer (pictured above with drawn sabre on the Howitzer base), and I thought I'd check out a wonderful piece of art from Karl Kopinski.

What you see here is a very small part of a wonderful painting by Mr Kopinski (formerly of GW fame) called No Retreat. He painted this picture as part of a pair for the Waterloo Collection. These paintings are a major part of the fundraising for Project Hougoumont. If you are interested in cool art and preserving history, please check out the links.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Just as I thought I was done, I noticed - tucked away in the background - two gunners with their back to the artist. There was some fairly elaborate brocade (I think, although it might be called lace) work on their uniforms, work that was obviously a bit too elaborate to be sculpted on the 28mm Front Rank figures I was painting.

I just couldn't let it slide, so I free-handed the brocade/lace onto their rather smart jackets, highlighted and left it at that. You can see it above on the backs of a couple of the gun crew, but it does appear on all the figures in the battery (except the officer, who's back is covered by his over jacket).

Next time: More of my recent British paintjobs, plus a look at the expansion of the Armies on Parade competition at Games Days.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And the Winner is...

Artwork by Adrian Smith, copyright Games Workshop, used without permission.

Finally, a winner for my Steel Legion Army List competition has been determined!

I've been quiet all week because I've had no time to take photos of the models I've been painting (more Napoleonics, I've really been bitten by the bug). On Saturday I took a run up to Showcase Comics to attend Dakkacon: Philadelphia, along with Jeff from The Adept's Forge. The event was quite different to what we expected, but it was a good day over all. Jeff helped me narrow down the lists until we hit on the final two or three.

On Sunday, my wife came down with an awful stomach flu and so I looked after our daughter all day, keeping her entertained. By the end of the weekend I was too wiped to even paint! On Tuesday, I was hit by the flu and was completely out of it. I had trouble even stringing a sentence together it was that bad. Fortunately, for us both, it just seemed to be a 24 hour thing as we were both able to go to work the following day.

Anyway, enough of my moaning and rambling.

Thank you to all 25 gamers who sent in army lists for the competition. There was a fairly broad spectrum of lists, from the current "leaf-blower" tourney favorite to the super characterful. I must admit it was quite tough as a number of the better options available to the Imperial Guard now were simply not written into the Steel Legion background 10 years ago. Does that mean that the Steel Legion wouldn't have used Psyker Battle Squads or Vendettas had they been invented? Who's to know?

Well, in the end Jeff and I came down to lists by Ted Nagel, Warhammer 39,999 (Rob), and Stuart Heasman. All were characterful, included some solid arrangements, and met our criteria.

In the end I decided on Stuart's list. As well as having the look and feel of a Steel Legion list, Stuart also included a couple of units from the other famous Armageddon regiments like the Savlar Chemdogs and Armageddon Ork-Hunters.

Here's Stuart's 3,000 point (roughly) list:


• Commisar Yarrick

• Company Command Squad - Plasma Pistol, Power Weapon, Regimental Standard, Vox, Grenade Launcher, Master of Ordnance, Chimera


• 10 Stormtroopers (Yarrick's Bodyguard) - Plasma pistol, 2 Grenade launchers, Chimera


• Platoon Command Squad - Lascannon, Plasma Gun, Vox, Chimera

• Infantry Squad - Grenade Launcher, Missile Launcher, Vox, Chimera

• Infantry Squad - Grenade Launcher, Heavy Bolter, Vox, Chimera

• Platoon Command Squad - Lascannon, Plasma Gun, Vox, Chimera

• Infantry Squad - Grenade Launcher, Missile Launcher, Vox, Chimera

• Infantry Squad - Grenade Launcher, Heavy Bolter, Vox, Chimera

• Penal Legion (Savlar Chemdogs)

• Penal Legion (Savlar Chemdogs)

• Veteran Squad (Armageddon Ork-Hunters) - Shotguns, Heavy Flamer, 2 Flamers, Harker

Fast Attack

• 2 Hellhounds - 2 Smoke Launchers

• 3 Armoured Sentinels - 3 Lascannon, 3 Smoke Launchers

• Vendetta Gunship (for the Armageddon Ork-Hunters)

Heavy Support

• Leman Russ Vanquisher - Hull Lascannon

• 2 Leman Russ MBTs - 2 Hull Lascannons

• Leman Russ Executioner - Hull Lascannon

And of course, I'd have to pick one of the entries all the way from Norway. Not to matter, Stuart's brand new Leman Russ Demolisher kit will be on it's way to him as soon as the snow clears here in Maryland.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Charity work on the horizon

As many of you may have seen on TV or read in newspapers or online, the Australian state of Queensland has recently been inundated with vast amounts of rain. Almost biblical amounts. While Australia is a land of stark contrasts, with its hardy farmers suffering either drought or flooding, these recent events have killed almost twenty people, left thousands homeless, and seen sharks swimming in the streets of Brisbane.

Chris Slade, from the Deepstrike Radio podcast, is a native of Queensland and while he didn't lose anything during the floods, many of his friends and relatives did - some of them deeply tragic losses. Doing his part, Chris has started a relief fund linked to his podcast. The banner above is linked directly to the page on the Deepstrike Radio site. Please head there and donate what you can to the relief fund. Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill have committed signed books to be awarded to those who donate the most.

In addition, Chris and the Deepstrike team have been accepting donations of boxes of Space Marine models that they intend to auction off as one huge army (starting February 1st, I believe). Not only will the winner of the auction get a big army, all new in the box, but I've decided to pitch in and convert and paint a command model for the army. The winner gets to choose what HQ unit and the color scheme before I get to work on it.

As a human being, it's tough to watch that kind of devastation, the kind that rocks some corner of the world on a regular basis. As an Australian myself, it's this time that I can do something small to help out friends of mine who suffered during this catastrophe.

If you are able to help, please do. If you have already helped, thank you. If you aren't able to help out here, that's fine too, I just ask that you take a look around your area and see if there is something local you can help with in some way.

In 2009 I offered up a painted miniature for a charity auction at Mechanicon. I ended up painting a Vulkan He'staan. Last year I decided to offer up another painted miniature for the Mechanicon Charity Auction. The auction is in honor of Chris Bledsoe, a dear friend of the organizers who passed away. The money from the auction goes to The Luekemia and Lymphoma Society.

This past year's winner of my "lot" was Kevin, who asked me to paint up the model you see here, an Ulfhedner produced by ZN Games. As it turns out, Chris had a lot to do with the development of this model and it is important to Kevin to honor Chris' memory.

Kevin left the scheme and approach completely up to me, quite the burden, considering the importance of the model. After much deliberation I went for a kind of Weird War 2 approach for this crazy werewolf. I kept some "standard" flesh tones in the mix (using the colors I had for my Minotaurs last February), and opted for a dark brown fur to contrast with the skin. Although I could have gone with a German or Allied color scheme (harkening back to the Incursion work I did last October) for the Ulfhedner's armor, I decided to leave his allegiance in question by going for battered metal plates. I mounted him on a Trench base from Dragon Forge Design to enhance the WW2 feel. Some Scab Red mixed with Gloss Varnish for fresh blood was all that was needed to finish him off.

Thanks for listening to my philanthropic rambling, I hope it inspires you to go out and do what you can to be good to people : )

Take care everyone. Some more Napoleonic British next time I think, before jumping back into my Empire army and some more Tanith I think.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The 60th Regiment of Foot (Royal American Rifles)

Well, here they are. The 60th Rifles. It seems that due to the popularity of the "Sharpe's" series of novels and the TV show (starring Sean Bean), the 95th Rifles are the way almost all wargamers building a Napoleonic British army go for when it comes to their skirmishers. It may well be that because I've never read the books or seen more than an episode of the show, that I was completely comfortable with going for the 60th instead. That, and it was companies of the 60th who were attached to the Guards Division at the Battle of Salamanca, our starting point for all of this madness.

I showed you all some of the conversions I did to get a lot more variety out of the Perry Riflemen plastics here. I'm happy to report that, once painted up, you can't really tell that they're conversions : )

The chap below, leaping over a GW Fence, was the most fun to pose. And amusingly enough, it wasn't until I had primed him that I realized there was a little Snotling head poking out from under the log. After chuckling about not having seen it earlier, despite photographing it and putting it on this blog, I clipped of the Snotling's nose and filled in the hollow with putty and a small stone. Job done.

In the game Lasalle you don't remove casualties as you go, but instead your unit suffers Disruption points (DISR) as it goes along. Under certain circumstances you can reduce the number of DISR your unit has taken, but if the number of points you've taken equals the number of bases in your unit, then the entire unit is removed from play. Way back when I first met Sam Mustafa (Lasalle's author) and did a report on the game for Wargames Illustrated, I met Jay Laura, a great painter who had done up some cool DISR markers for his 28mm figures.

What you see above is my first homage to Jay's work, the DISR marker for my 60th Rifles. As the unit has 6 bases (50mm x 50mm) I used a hexagonal base. Once I've put together other DISR markers for my army, I'll go through and put little numbers on the edges so that I can show exactly how many disruption points each unit has taken. Sure I could use dice, but we all know how that goes...


PS. You may have noticed a new item on the right column of the blog. I thought it might be fun to track a few things throughout the year. See how my hobby progresses. Enjoy : )

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Big Game!

Over the last few months I've been corresponding quite a bit with Alec Peters, the guy who bought my Legio Custodes army. Alec, as I think I've mentioned before, is a huge geek. He is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about a lot of very cool things. He even started a company that auctions off the costumes and props from movies like Iron Man and TV shows like Battlestar Galactica!

Anyway, Alec is a huge fan of the Apocalypse style of gaming. So much so that he started a blog and a forum and has been very active in bringing together a lot of other like-minded groups of 40K gamers out there. This has been very successful, with gamers not only from SoCal (Alec's hunting grounds), but much further afield: Europe, Asia, and Australasia too.

Over the last couple of months Alec has been building plans for, as he calls it, "The Big Game" - an Apocalypse gaming event that currently has over 15 locations around the globe participating.

January 22nd is when it all goes down. Click on either of the links above to track down more info on how you can get involved in the Apocalyptic action. While this is obviously a single day event, Alec isn't the kind of guy to let things die off after that. There'll be plenty more fun gaming and opportunities to connect with other folks who love the Apocalypse!


PS. I know I haven't announced the winner of my Steel Legion Army List contest yet. There were over 30 lists submitted and I'm still sorting through them all. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More of the 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders)

Well, it's been quite the busy week. We're into crunch time for our March issue of Wargames Illustrated (#281 - Artillery Through the Ages), which means a few extra hours in the evenings spent on the mag, tweaking text and layouts.

I have, however, managed to get the 79th Highlanders completed. These are all Victrix Limited models from their Highlander Centre Company box set. I like the amount of crisp detail on the Victrix models, although that comes at the price of slightly more brittle plastic (not so good for the bayonets).

The colonel in the center, mounted on his horse, is also from Victrix. I'm not sure if he would have actually worn the Cameron tartan around his body, but I thought it would do a better job of tying him in with the rest of the unit.

A couple of posts back, I promised I'd put up a tartan tutorial, specifically for the Cameron of Erracht tartan worn by the 79th in the Peninsular War. A few weeks ago I saw something similar on The Miniatures Page (aka TMP), but can't find it again, so all credit for the format goes to an unknown hobbyist out there (please feel free to comment below if it was you or a friend of yours).

Anyway, on to the step-by-step. As the Cameron of Erracht tartan is primarily dark green with blue and black, with a red pin stripe, I decided to start with by painting the kilts blue. In this case I used Ultramarine Blue. The second step was to paint evenly spaced vertical stripes in black.

The third step was to paint horizontal black stripes. These were slightly thinner than the vertical stripes, and slightly closer together. The blue blocks that remained are meant to be rectangular, rather than square, a feature of the Erracht tartan. Step four was to paint vertical green stripes. I used Orkhide Shade for mine. These stripes allowed a little bit of black to show on each edge.

Step five was to paint the green horizontal stripes, again using Orkhide Shade. This was followed by "highlighting" the rectangles where the green stripes overlapped. I used Snot Green for this step.

Step seven was to paint some of the vertical red pin stripes. The original tartan has two per green stripe, one per blue stripe, and then a couple more separating them. I decided to simplify the process (and not go crazy) by just running with a vertical pin stripe through each green and blue stripe. Horizontally there are fewer, so I opted for a single stripe through the green horizontals. I used Vallejo's Flat Red for this.

So there you have it. A fairly simple method for breaking down a complex pattern into its parts. I know it's not completely true to the tartan, but it still looks good on the tabletop, which is what matters in my books.

So here they are again, the 79th (Cameron) Highlanders, ready to defended the colors (from The Flag Dude) from the Frenchies!


PS. I've added a few new blogs to my blog roll on the right, but I wanted to point out the new Flames Of War Unofficial Blog Ring. Essentially, this guy is trying to get a blog ring going that emulates the support for 40K blogs provided by blog rings like From The Warp and Bell of Lost Souls (amongst others). If you are into FOW, head on over there and help get the ball rolling. Once I have some more regular FOW posts on my blog I'll throw my hat into the ring too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year (and Happy Birthday) - 2010 re-cap.

What a crazy year! So much going on: lots of good things, some really unlucky things, and some really tough times for a few friends. Through it all I managed to keep blogging, and actually increased the number of posts from 75 in 2009 to 87 in 2010. I wasn't sure I was going to keep pace due to my lull in September, but a strong surge in hobby activity in October, November, and December saw that problem fixed. What follows in a bit of a recap of the year that was, and a few promises* for the coming year.


Thank you all for continuing to frequent this blog. In 2009 I primarily chronicled the creation of my Blood Pact army (along with a couple of side projects), but 2010 had no real defining project (although there were a couple of big ones in there.

In 2009 there were 437 people that had decided to "sign up" by following this blog, in 2010 another 555 people thought it was worth following too, taking the total to 992. I'd like to think that this is a reflection of the quality of most of the posts on this blog. Sometimes they might be few, but I like to think that every second post is kind of worth looking at.

Over 2010 the blog had over 317,700 visits, coming from 137 different countries. While I'm sure that plenty of those were automated bots searching for the next place to put their Viagra advertising, it's nice to know that some of the visits were from real people. And that number means an average of roughly 870 visits per day.

Thanks must also go to a variety of sources for referring folks to the blog, the top five (according to Google Analytics) were: Bell of Lost Souls, From The Warp, Warseer, Dakkadakka, and Bolter & Chainsword.


As I mentioned earlier, there were no over-arching projects, but a mix of commissions, competitions, charity work, tutorials, and work on my own hobby projects. Here's the month-by month rundown of what was done in 2010.

January - My work: Blood Pact Locust & Hellblade, first units of my Napoleonic British. Commissions: Emperor's Children, Thunderwolves, Horus Lupercal. Tutorials: Freehand Chaos Star.

February - My work: Minotaurs and snow shovelling. Commissions: More Emperor's Children.

March - Competitions: Blood Pact Tattoos. Commissions: Horus Lupercal.

April - My work: Jabberslythe, getting tattooed, surviving car crash and cursing Icelandic volcano. Commissions: Tanith, Kor'sarro Khan, Rylanor.

May - Commissions: Tanith, Kor'sarro Khan, Abaddon.

June - Commissions: Tanith. Charity Projects: Storm Wardens.

July - Charity Projects: Storm Wardens. Tutorials: Building a Sternguard bolter.

August - My work: painting for the Golden Demons. Commissions: Big Bastion!

September - My work: more Napoleonic British. Commissions: Leman Russ. Charity Projects: Legio Custodes auction.

October - My work: Empire army. Commissions: Tanith. Charity Projects: Incursion boxed set.

November - My work: Empire army, Flames of War German Light Panzer company. Charity Projects: Incursion and Space Hulk auctions. Tutorials: Glass Portholes and Feathers.

December - My work: Empire army, more Napoleonic British. Competitions: Steel Legion Lists. Tutorials: Dark Eldar Warrior and Wyche painting tutorials.

Wow. Lots of stuff worked on, a lot of it for other people. Halfway through the year I realized I was spending all my hobby time working on commissions, so I decided to not take on anymore. I'm still honoring few that are longer term projects, but I can't see myself jumping back into it any time soon.


Following the support from you, the community, when I lost my car in an accident in April, I saw how important it is to give what you can, when you can, to help those in need. Thank for your kind words and donations. It helped me see that we can do a lot as a group. We don't all have to chip in for everything all the time, but helping out in some way not only makes you feel really good, but strengthens our community as a whole.

In 2010 this blog was part of a group that raised over $20,000 for folks in need, both near and far. Expect to see much more of this in 2011, with a wider variety of formats and opportunities for you to participate.


The "Friends of the Storm Wardens" group of bloggers will be back with something much more grand in scope. Very exciting stuff that will hopefully blow last years project out of the water. John and Mike from SCWH are nothing if not visionaries!

I'll also be working with Rob Villnave and others in the Delaware office of Battlefront Miniatures on a great charity project that should see the light of day come Spring.

Only a much smaller, but no less important, scale I'll be doing some more fundraising for my friends John and Justin. Infact, just before Christmas I received a box of goodies as a thanks for the promotional support I've given to my friend Alex who recently opened his mail order business, Battleroad Games & Hobbies (Alex has a sale going on right now, go and check it out). You can see pics of the box and it's contents below. The idea is that I paint up the rather eclectic contents of this box to sell or auction off to continue my fundraising for the guys. Should be quite a bit of work.

Space Marine Vindicator

Space Marine Landspeeder

Eldar Farseer and IG Techpriest

Cygnar Battlegroup for Warmachine

A creepy bust from DFB Studio

and some figures from a company I'd not heard of before, HiTech Miniatures.


So, with lot's of stuff accomplished in 2010, I'm going to try and get the following done for 2011.

• Participate in the huge charity project with the "Storm Wardens" team.
• Finish my Artillery Train of Nuln army at some stage.
• Add a few more units to both my Blood Pact Army and Genswick 33rd Rifles army.
• Complete another 120 models for my Napoleonic British army.
• Add four more tutorials to this blog over the year.
• Participate in four painting competitions this year, with some models that are specifically for competition.
• Attend a Masterclass seminar by Mathieu Fontaine.
• Get elbow-deep in the potty training process of my lovely daughter.
• Continue to have a fantastic time working on Wargames Illustrated (and talk about it more often on my blog).
• Paint another Flames of War army, with infantry this time, and play some games with it.

So, I hope your 2011 is a great one. Rule #32: Enjoy the little things.
Take care of your loved ones and hobby as much as you can!


* Note: Promises not valid if made from a basement in the state of Maryland.