Thursday, 20 December 2012

Never tell me the odds!

This week in...


The DnD guys all managed to assemble so we could continue our epic quest. Our party chronicler, a Barbarian Dwarf has been keeping track of our progress. I am a little disappointed that he hasn't recorded our progress in first person as diary entry's as his character is rather interesting. When we left off, the platform we were standing on was disintegrating.  Here is some of his work.

"Concerned about our unsteady footing, and the apparent endless void below, the group tied themselves to each other with generous lengths of rope and set to navigating towards the larger platform ahead.
Abruptly, the stone path began to crumble and break up! Forceful gusts of wind threatened to cast us into the void, yet we managed to remain fairly steady.
Thom was above these trivial concerns - literally floating above. He perceived that the magics in this place were elemental in nature, and quite malleable before the force of his will.
After briefly testing his power, he attempted to remake the platform beneath our feet and met with some success. The party breathed a collective sign of relief as the prospect of tumbling into the abyss grew more distant.
Behind us however, swirling flames continued to advance. Thom's efforts to remake the path were effective, but he saw that he couldn't outpace the flames behind.

In a flash of inspiration, he instead thrusted the remade platform forward with psychokinetic force, sending it hurtling towards the cultists. 
Worried by our sudden advance, the cultists sent flaming elementals to impede us, but Thom's will sent them directly back at their would-be masters.

A moment later, we were upon the cultists. Our floating lifeboat smashed with tremendous force into a ridge, pulping an unfortunate cultist while the rest of us vaulted to safety.
Before us, we saw what we presumed to be the Eye of Morcar - a large orb of darkness filled with glittering points of light - held within a cage atop a pillar that rose from the stone.
Some cultists had already been set upon by the fire elementals that were turned against them, others were preparing for battle.

The rank-and-file cultists fell swiftly to our assault, yet their leader offered greater resistance. He rushed to the orb and used its magic to try immobilizing our group.
He was only partly successful, and we quickly knocked him away from the orb. Thom found that he could tap the orb's power himself, so he used it to augment his attacks. 
Hoping to find strength in evil snake-related power, the cultist leader transformed himself into a giant python!
This did him little good as he was immediately beaten back with greater force and hurled from the edge into the abyss below. 

Before slipping to his doom however he managed to use a geyser of his own foul blood to create a fearsome giant crocodile, intended to finish us off. 
Indeed it proved tougher than its summoner, mauling several of us and gnawing Duerim into a dangerously bloody state before finally succumbing to its own injuries.
Fortunately, it never managed to actually swallow the dwarf - perhaps due to his spirited resistance and repeated assaults, or maybe due to the taste.

As Thom neared the orb, he studied its nature and realized he could manipulate it. He magically shrunk it to a reasonable size, and took possession of it as we turned from the fallen beast to figure out our next goal."

I joined in another game of Deathwatch at the local club and was invited to participate in a regular campaign.
in the mission I played the kill team was tasked with investigating a small settlement that was abandoned after some rumored monster sightings we restored power to the town and cleared all the structures, in the process we slew eight elite Genestealers. Five of the fell beasts were downed by my Dark Angel Rafen.
There was some minor damage to the civilian structures. Our assault marine used a krak grenade to open a new doorway and Rafen tried to flush a Genestealer out of a house with a flame thrower the house and Xeno were both reduced to ash.

Victory! was the cry of the Britannia armored forces. Dystopian  Wars exploding dice worked in my favor last week there was a repeat of a exploding tank damaging the firing squadron, only this time it was my opponent that was on the receiving end of the backfire. My objective was the destroy all the large models as he only had one Sternpanzer I just had to focus all my fire. Inthe end it was my sole surviving small tank that dealt the final blow with an incredible series of exploding 6s.

It took the focus of my entire army
to crack the armor of the Sternpanzer.
My math is a little fuzzy but I think the
odds of rolling  8 six's in a row is 1,679,616 : 1

& Hobby

On Sunday before I headed to the Game club I spent some quality time with my eldest son painting some Space Marines I painted up Rafen my Dark Angel in the Deathwatch color scheme and my little Xman made up his own color scheme. I helped him with some techniques and showed him on my marine. otherwise I just let him go it, I was surprised how good it turned out. Now he is chomping at the bit to start his own army and start rolling dice.

He chose the melta gun because it looked the coolest.
The Blue and Gold armor has a nice contrast.
He even painted the purity seal. 

Black & silver with the Deathwatch
oaths inlayed in the silver.

Dark Angel Icon.

First Space Marine I have
painted in  years


Monday, 17 December 2012


My son and I recently got to experience a very rare event. A solar eclipse passed very close to our city, so early before school we set out for the beach. I borrowed the work theodolite and set it up so it would project the image of the sun on to sheet of paper. This was necessary to protect our retinas from scorching radiation. It was an incredible event clear sky's and a unobstructed view over the ocean.

It had already started when we set up.

The moon moved into alignment quite quickly.

Getting close.

We could  just start to see the corona at the edges.
Pity the camera didn't catch it.  

98% of Totality.
The light dipped and heat of the sun ebbed.    

It was all over in 45 minutes 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Within the sound of silence

I have been very quiet in my bloging lately. But I have been active in my gaming and other hobby's.
With a bunch of games played


My DnD group has been having trouble assembling for games lately it seems that life and circumstance conspire to impede the group's progress. The other players normally still meet up to play something and lately that has been Zombicide. It has become one of my favorite games to play. We have added a house rule to keep everyone evolved, when a player dies they have the option to spawn another character on to the map. This has allowed us to complete most of the missions so far, usually at a very high rate of character attrition.

I have managed a few games of Dystopian Wars. This included a massive three player game of my & a friend's combined armored forces against a huge force of  INVADERS  FROM  SPACE ! Sadly I had call the game off due to fact that I am a Dad. So the earths forces retired form the field of battle and all of mainland Europe was overrun by the alien menace.
In the last game I played something amazing happened we played to the correct conclusion of the game. The victory conditions for both sides was to destroy 50% of the opposing force including all small units.
The game ended in my crushing defeat but it was still very satisfying.  I have been having problems getting a whole game in the time I allocate for gaming. But now the games have been flowing smoothly that we understand the rules better.

My small tanks prepare to
sweep around the right flank.
The medium tanks hold the left flank.

Damn exploding dice 17 hits from 5 dice
8 of my small tank tokens gone=game over
My small tanks surround an enemy and
disappear in explosion from a critical hit.

The battle lines are drawn
2420 points aside. 
Got to use my fuel counters
they worked good.

 Despite the problems with getting six people to put there lives on hold to go adventuring in the fantasy realms of the Forgotten Kingdoms we have some games of DnD. Some notable events of the last couple of sessions, My Half-Orc rouge opening a kitchen cupboard and being promptly eaten by the shambling mound contained within, The party searching every item in a castle study looking for the quest item only for the DM to exclaim that he forgot to draw a door on the map, My Ranger drinking and smothering himself in the contents of series of jars containing the base ingredients to produce potions of elemental protection, In the following battle my ranger took no elemental damage so as far as he is concerned he is now immune to all elemental damage and the party mage becoming imbued with elemental power and the ability to levitate then proceed to only use this method of travel even though it is only 15feet every 6seconds.
The last session ended on a cliffhanger. The party standing on a stone bridge spanning a void filled with chaotic elemental power as the bridge is rent and shattered by incredible cyclonic lighting charged wind.
Waiting patiently to see if Gumbar the Ranger survives.

I normally play Dystopian Wars on the weekend at the local club but last week a friend and I joined in a game of Deathwatch that some of the other members had been running. Play time was limited as with every pen and paper RPG I have seen the character creation process is a time consuming pain. But we did manage an suitable epic entry for Space Marines. Walking on up to a fellow marine and gunning down the Tau Stealth Suits he was locked in hand to hand combat with in a hale of fully automatic Bolter fire at point blank range.
I believe the Deathwatch system and setting lend its self to, one off encounters and drop in drop out style game-play, allowing players to skip a session and not feel like they are breaking the story. Unlike DnD were a character disappearing during a long trek through a dungeon would make little sense. Deathwatch killteams are deployed in short notice to any possible type of terrain for any type of mission in numbers varying  from a single marine to hundreds of battle brothers.


Spartan has released there new System Dystopian Legions set in the same universe of  Dystopian Wars I was wondering what kind of city these guys would inhabit I guess it would be something like Dishoned.
I decided to sketch out some ideas for some gaming terrain with a steam-punk bent. I liked the results and will development them further, after I finish work on my first set of industrial platforms. I got to thinking about how people must steel from get influenced by the different media they consume and sketched out some more terrain ideas inspired by some of my favorite games. The one at I think has the most promise is the stuff inspired by Mass Effect I really liked the octagon shaped Hab-Blocks from the mission to the Horizon colony.

Modular  SiFi walkways

Every colony need stack of cargo pods

 Living in prefabricated comfort.

I good fend recently traveled to Brisbane to listen to some music lucky bastard. In between enjoying the sights of a great city and listening to Cake and Ben Folds Five I had him pick up some brushes. Brushes made from the finest quality sable hair. I am not sure what quirk of evolution gave sables such  crisp, pointed, springy hair but apparently Winsor & Newton decided they were perfect water color brushes for the super rich. he also picked up some brush soap apparently made from powered Ultramarines.

And the sign said "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls 
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence

Sunday, 18 November 2012


A How To Paint Cheat Sheet

So I have been slowly ramping up my hobby and have been saddened to find out that my painting skills have not only slipped but the quality of painting in the whole miniature hobby has improved. Over the last 10 years that I was absent from the hobby I was aware of the huge leaps and bounds made in the miniature sculpting and casting.  But I was not aware of the massive improvements in miniature painting. White Dwarf was the main source of information on the hobby and their armies were always painted to the highest standard. Now checking out the quality of painted armies on peoples blogs makes me realise that I have to relearn all my old tricks and pick up some new ones.

Old School Orks from 2nd edition 40K.
New multi-part plastics Orks.

So to aid me on my journey of rediscovery I have purchased a book. I have been looking online at blogs for some painting tips & many of the big sites like Dakka and BoLS have some fantastic examples and useful tips. But I was looking for a complete guide to painting something that would help me remaster the basics and then show me how to paint a Golden Daemon winning mini.

How to Paint Citadel Miniatures

The book does not look typical of the many other books produced by GW. It looks like a note pad with wire loop rings. Covers and pages are however of good quality and the wire rings play an important role. Looking at the cover and glancing at the pages there is no mistaking that this book is clearly aimed at painters of GW minis.

Odd looking binding?
A picture is worth a 1000 words.

Flipping through the book you will quickly notice that besides from the contents and a short introduction the pages are arranged  in landscape. The book contains 136 pages split into 18 chapters that are separated into 2 sections, Techniques & Army Projects. Each chapter contains many short paragraphs describing the paint or technique to use. Followed by many large detailed full color photographs making the book's information quite easy to digest. This is where the brilliance of the wire ring binding come into play. The back cover is constructed out of two pieces of thick cardboard that fold out. This allows the book to stand on edge so the landscape pages can be read without hands while painting. It is a simple gimmick that works beautifully.  

This is a brilliant idea.
The angle is just right to sit & read.

Reading the chapter list had me worried, there seemed to be plenty of information on painting techniques but none on color selection or on how to combine colors to achieve a pleasant contrast and composition. The Techniques explained are demonstrated quite well through a combination of short descriptive paragraphs and excellent close up photographs. However I would like to have seen blending included in the techniques. The army Projects are also a mixed bag. The examples shown are quite descriptive and would greatly aid in painting an army in the demonstrated color scheme. I would have liked to see an example for each of the 12 main 40K army's and 15 Warhammer army's. That may have resulted in a very thick book. This book does teach "how to paint citadel miniatures" but does not live up to the blurb of being "a boon to painters of all standards".

The other great feature of the book is it comes with a 90 minute DVD. Elaborating on the technique chapters and then has in depth and detailed coverage of the painting of the Space marines and Tyranids Army projects listed in the book. Again the information is dispensed well easy to follow. A series of close up clips with a voice over describing each step of the process in time with each action being performed on screen.
This is similar to a YouTube painting video except the the sound and camera work is professional quality.
The voice over is well articulated and the sound level and quality is perfect. The camera follows the movements of the brush, stays focused on the point of painting and there is no blurred or out of focus shots. All the scenes are well lit from multiple angles avoiding  the dark shadows of amateur productions.

Only a simple paint guide.
The DVD was excellent.

I like the book as a whole. Both the book and the DVD contain a load of information that will greatly aid anyone starting out painting. The book is also a good source of information regarding the new GW paint range and the associated special paints. I would have liked either more examples of painted army's or greater understanding of what colors match / contrast, especially considering the price.


  • wealth of information
  • layout and bookstand
  • DVD
  • high production value

  • GW price!
  • no use for a high level painter
  • not examples of all races 
  • needs more info on contrast & composition

Overall I give it 3.5  Kolinsky sable brushes out of 5

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Interesting Developments

Gaming Highlights 

The Brits are the first to seize the bridge
More Dystopian Wars last week it was the useual armored match up of my Kingdom of Britannia against a friends Prussian Empire. The battle field was dominated by a large winding river spanned by a ridiculously large bridge. we both rolled destroy 50% total value and all medium class for our field orders. but were unable to finish the game. It didn't matter anyway it was only going to end one way. A crushing defeat for the Brits. My land ship suffered a critical hit "Sturginum Flare" it blinked into the ether and moment later it flashed back into existence smashing into the support structure of the bridge, now in front of my battle line. It was then pummeled by a combined broad side from three Prussian tanks resulting in a another critical hit "Magazine Explosion"  my land ship was destroyed in a series of violent explosions, massive stores of fuel and ammunition  erupting on flames punching out of the internals of my land ship.
My small tanks repel the Prussians  

I've got this in the bag. Wait how did my
land ship get there & why is it a smoking ruin!?
The planets were aligned and six men once again embarked upon there quest. We manage to pick up our DnD campaign, when we left off the party had just finished two encounters and were bit beat up and exhausted we pushed on and were just scoping out a safe place to rest up when we discovered  a nest of Jellys Jellos Jellies ruled by a massive flame filled goo. Our winbutton Avenger out of surges and powers the encounter turned into a cliffhanger it ended with the Monk, Avenger and my Ranger down and bleeding out. If we spent one more round in its presence we all would have been negative bloodied. The Mage and Barbarian managed to destroy it just in time, with three members down and the least adept healers left to revive them our DM was going to have a hard time explaining the entry of three new characters in to his story. With some  very tense rounds with a few failed death roles and a few lucky healing rolls we were all brought around. We now rest huddled in the corner fearing for our lives staring at the barricaded doors.

I also enjoyed  a couple more games of the excellent Heroica it is a great family game with the cutest little Lego meeples.
My boy swinging his sword to slay a Goblin.

Hobby Achievements

I have been painting up some remaining Dystopian Wars units six more medium tanks, four Doncaster medium bombers and eight stands of tiny flyers. An attempt to bolster my forces for an expected encounter with a force of unknown origin these guys are going to be hard to take out and they have all kinds of different tropes tools at there disposal. I am planing to form an alliance with the Prussians that have previously ravaged my army to insure the destruction of the invaders.  Did I just hear a distant Ulla!

Some Other Geeky Stuff

I recently earned a pay rise and back pay at work and before I waster this money on boring things like food for my family or mortgage repayments I made sure to get a few essentials. Two more Rouge Trader books and The Deathwatch core rule book. This will take the number of book for systems that I don't play to seven. I think I may need to try and run a Rouge Trader campaign when we wrap up the Current DnD campaign. 

My have sent my terrain plans to Carlos at Mechanical Warhorse for him to review I plan to soon get some samples made up to see if my ideas work outside the confines of a computer or my head.
In fact a have sent Carlos a barrage of designs and plans for all different kinds of bits and bobs mainly for Dystopian Was but a couple would be useful for 40K I will put up images showing my designs soon.
He also had a proposition for me but I will need to think it over a little more before I decide to post it on the web.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Time For Adventure...   or not

It's been very quiet on the gaming front this week. I did manage a game of Arkham Horror. It has been a long time since we played, It took a while to the group to get back into it. It was plenty of fun once we got the hang of it, We failed to prevent the old one from awakening and were forced to face him in combat and surprisingly we managed to defeat him. 

I also managed to get in a couple of games of Heroica a Lego board game with my 5yo son. I had forgotten how much fun this game is. I think it is one of the best things to happen to gaming in  a very long time. I believe it will plant the gaming seed in many young minds. Growing the next generation of gamers. The major gaming companies should all be thanking Lego for securing the future of the industry. At its core Heroica is just a simple board game constructed out of Lego with a fantasy skin. The mechanics are super simple , all movement and combat is resolved with a single custom Lego D6. When we play I encourage my boy to role-play his actions, he is not just rolling a die but swinging his sword and leaping over the Goblin he slayed.

I was bummed that we have missed our last two sessions of DnD. I believe that we are nearing the end of the story ark our DM had planned. I am anticipating the chance to find out how the adventure will end. It seems that reality keeps getting in the way of play. 
The D6G ran a segment on finding time to game, Angelo Lombardi talked about his experiences balancing adult life, work and family with gaming. I liked the sound of the idea of a group of friends and there family all making the time to hang out not just a bunch of guys steeling time away for gaming, but whole families spending time together.

With little gaming I have still had some time to work on my painting. I made a start on my HeroQuest heroes, the Barbarian and Elf are complete. I was unsure on how to get a good look on the Dwarf beard or the Wizards cape. I've decided to order a book to speed my painting development. According to the manager at my LGS it is quite good. He prefers P3 over GW product, but said the book has a bunch of useful information. I will post about it when I have had a look at it. 

I also managed to finish painting my Britannia helicarrier skyfortress. I am happy with the result, but have received some negative criticism about the rotors. They are quite a contrast to the rest of the model, but I think plain metallic blades look boring. I may consult the Spartan forums for some advice.
Goodbye for now.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Steampunk behemoths turning with laser precision 

I am starting to really enjoy Dystopian Wars. Like a lot of people I noticed in the rule book there is a photo of some acrylic turning templates. The only way to get them was when they were being given away as promos, or to win a set. So I decided to draw up my own and send them to be fabricated. Carlos at Mechanical Warhorse fixed me up and now my fleet is making turns with laser cut precision.

There is nothing wrong with the free cardboard ones spartan supplies in the boxed sets, but the acrylic ones are superior. The raised edge acts as guide to aid in the turning of the models. The transparent nature allows you to see the position of the other models in a fleet to avoid possible collisions. 
There are a few other suppliers of similar templates but they didn't look very steampunk. I am super proud of my cog design.


Looks cool
Templates with personal design
Raised edge to aid model movement
The firing ark template helps when targeting with multiple turrets 


Not free
Had to draw the design myself
Firing ark template is missing one minor line
The edges have been buffed smooth reducing the sharp look

laser cut goodness
flash+light blue sheet= invisible

they look better on the green
this is missing a line near my thumb

I like design more than the Spartan ones

transparent, I like it
I should have made the top edge 1'' 

helps with using multiple turrets

overlaid on the originals perhaps
a 0.5mm difference 
 edge of the template aids in movement

I like it