Friday, 13 January 2017

Things I Want to Get In To / Vision Board

This post is for Chris, and maybe Brandon.

Here's some stuff I'd be keen to try if I had someone else joining me in converting, painting and building.


I sold all my models, but not my rulebooks. I want to do this again. Even if it is only for an annual drinks and Ork night.

Instead of going with the small orks, I saw some awesome conversions the other day from Age of Sigmar Orruks that would be cool. Big orks would need a big vehicles too.

Stolen from Gorkamorka Facebook group without permission. Sorry.

Mordhiem / Frost Grave / Hinterlands

I really like the Hinterlands rules, but would enjoy any skirmish game with small evolving warbands.

I have tonnes of Dave Graffam scenery too, so no need to go to a hobbyshop. We can play with booze at a house.

I was thinking about a Beastmen warband, like this:

Or a Devoted of Sigmar / Whitchhunter crew, like this:

Inq28 / Inquismunda

I have also been looking at 40k skirmish games and admiring the art of John Blanche. There's some fan made rules for warbands of 3 to 9 models here, and converting them looks like fun.

And an excuse to make a Judge Dredd warband:

Hobby project for 2017?

My To Do List

YES. I found my log in details!

The traffic and feedback on the vegan post is really cool. I’ve seen it pop up on both vegan pages and wargaming forums too that I read too, which is neat.

Lots has happened since I last updated this blog.

I have moved countries, bought a tonne of used Warhammer including too many high elves, I’ve been playing Age of Sigmar at local hobbyshops in the two places I have lived, and I’ve also been wondering how anyone finds time to paint and build in the hobby?!

I sold everything I didn't care much for when I moved, keeping a few pieces and buying a bunch of elves when I got here. In an effort to make some progress on the models I'm stockpiling, I am publishing this post as a To Do list. Excuse the lazy photos.

Order Draconis

I spent $500 on a used elves lot. I have sold about $600 worth and I still have too many to use.
I have a Dragon Lord, Dragon Noble and I kept 15 Dragon Blades. I’d like to get them fixed and painted.

Eldritch Council

I have several Archmages, another dragon I have been playing as Drakeseer, a Loremaster and 57 Swordmasters. I have played with this army at a couple tournaments, sometimes complimented with compendium units like Ellyrian Reavers, Tyrion, Bolt Throwers and Silver Tower Aelves. They aren’t going to be super competitive, but I’ve won about half my battles so far and it is a good laugh, especially when the Loremaster gives Tyrion a boost. I want to get at least 1000pts of pure Eldritch Council painted up.

Swifthawk Agents

With the new Battalion Warscroll out, this could actually be a bit of fun. 15 Ellyrian Reavers near the High Warden can shoot 90 arrows in a turn. Add a +1 to wound from a Skywarden, or make it +2 with a second Skywarden, and this army could hurt. I have three Chariots, Shadow Warriors, Spireguard, an Archmage and a tonne of Swordmasters (see above) to throw in too… I just don’t have the Skywardens. And I’m unsure how much use I’d get out of them if I did buy a pair.


I played one game with a friend, LOVED IT, bought a crew and then never played again. It is all half-built.

I have Hannah, Punk Zombies, Tara crew box set, Bishop and Death Marshals. Can’t find any local gamers, but I love the models, so will eventually get it built and painted.

Prehistoric Settlement 

I wrote about these after Salute 2015. I bought more at Salute 2016 too. Still haven’t touched them with a brush.

Perry Miniatures

I have a bunch Native Americans and War of Independence-era soldiers… I kind of started painted. I don’t know what I’ll do with them.

Going Native: New World Monsters

I have a whole lot of monsters from North American mythology from this kickstarter. They turned out lovely. I thought they be fun for a skirmish game with the above Perry models, but I doubt I’ll find the time. 

Silver Tower

Almost forgot about these models too.

This blog post is a little bit of a declaration of my intentions. Hopefully, I'll be able to come back in a few weeks with some progress reports. Push me on it, would you? :)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Is Warhammer Vegan?

I had never considered the impact of the wargaming hobby on animals, so I thought I’d look in to it.

Tau enjoying a tofu & bean burrito (via

The two obvious places to start are paints and brushes.

In paints, ingredients from fish, bugs and cows can sneak in, like sepia ink, cochineal, ox gall, gelatin, shellac and bone char. There’s a few different brands of paints in my collection, and I asked the manufacturers about whether they contained animal ingredients.

Mike from Coat D'arms was the first to reply. He confirmed that all their ingredients are synthetic, and mentioned that they’d been asked several times before. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one who cares!

Alex Vallejo from Acrylicos Vallejo said that they had a company policy to avoid using animal ingredients when possible, but they do have a couple items in their Fine Arts and Acrylic Artists Colour ranges that use shellac and bone char due to the lack of synthetic substitutes. Fortunately, their model paints were free from squished bugs and burnt cow bones.

Alex also pointed out their policy on REACH, the EU regulation that is requiring every chemical to undergo safety tests. Valajeo has consulted with their major chemical suppliers and with only a few very rare exceptions, all the REACH tests on the ingredients they buy are done on dead tissue only.

Amy, who makes the MSP paints for Reaper Mini, said that she has never seen any animal-derived products in their bases or pigments. She also confirmed that, for Reaper’s models, the companies they work with use plastic resins, minerals, and inorganic chemicals only.

PrivateerPress said that all their Formula P3 paints are not tested animals and do not contain animal products.

Citadel was the only range that I didn't get a straight answer for. Games Workshop customer service said if I send them a list of the paints I want to use, they’d let me know if they contain animal products. It struck me as weird as this seems to be a question that these companies do get asked a lot, so I would have hoped that a company as big as Games Workshop would have answers ready. I didn't want to waste too much of their time listing off every paint in the range for an individual answer, so I just left it at that.

So far, things look really positive for anyone wanting to use paints without harming animals. But brushes are a bit of an issue.

On the side of fine hobby brushes, you’ll probably see that it is marked as “red sable”. Red sable fur comes from Siberian weasels, an animal that lives in Russia and China. I couldn’t find many sources on how these hairs are obtained. I emailed brush companies and even the fur industry’s press office. No answers. was the only source of more information I could find. 

Apparently, these weasels are caught in leghold traps or snares, and the pelts are sold to the brushmakers who pluck and sort the hairs. For me, this is particularly worrying. Fur is nasty and I know I’m not alone in thinking so. An RSPCA survey in 2011 showed that 95% of British people would not wear real fur. And leghold traps are so cruel they were banned in England & Wales in the 1950s for being “too inhumane”. If something was so bad it was considered inhumane 60 years ago, you know it must be terrible. Further to that, Russia and China have minimal animal protection laws. In countries like Canada or Denmark, in theory, animals should not be left in traps for more than a day (they end up trying to chew their own leg off or dying in some other grisly way). China or Russia don’t have similar animal welfare standards.

It is bleak.

So, the solution: Are there any synthetic brushes that are up to the same standards? I’d love to hear thoughts on how well synthetic brushes hold up.

For my personal ethics, I’ll keep using my current set brushes for now. According to the Vegan Society, "Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals..." The words “as far as possible and practicable” stand out for me there. I don’t think compassionate people should opt out of the real world and move to a hippy commune or something. I think it is important to play an active role in non-vegan communities to demonstrate just how easy it is to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. So, for now, that means continuing to paint with fur brushes until I find a decent alternative, and I’ll also continue to advocate for animals by bringing delicious vegan snacks to game nights to impress friends.

From a bigger perspective, it would be great to ask companies to look in to their sourcing properly. Being the biggest name in wargaming, I’d love to know if Games Workshop knows where its fur comes from. And for them to adopt an official policy on trying to avoid animal products, like Vallejo has. And to know if the company has a stance on animal testing, including the compulsory REACH testing. If any animal-friendly Games Workshop shareholders are reading this, perhaps this is something you could help with.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Things I Liked At Salute 2015

Today was Salute, the big London wargaming expo. It was pretty overwhelming how much cool stuff there was to check out.

I particularly liked the massive displays. Fort George won best in show and was really cool. The sinking ship was my favourite part. Beasts of War’s Battle of Hoth game was also really impressive.

As someone looking for something to get in to, getting up close and personal with miniatures from every range was a treat.

I’ll definitely be picking up a Malifaux crew, but I knew that before going to Salute. I have friends who play, and it seems easy enough to get in to. Still, it was great to be able to check them out up close.

Mierce Miniatures’ Darklands range stole the show for me. They were so incredibly awesome. Just look at how cool these are:
Unfortunately, they are well out of my price range. Maybe once I learn to paint a bit better I might be up for splashing out that much. They were breathtaking, but my hobby skills wouldn't do them justice.

Other highlights included models from Ax Faction and Meridian Miniatures:

Ax Faction had some really cool mounts. I prefer my female fighters to be wearing a little more reasonable armour than most of the models in their range, but I can look past that for a massive bear or bunny steed.

Meridian had neat steam punk British troops. They caught my eye, but I really don’t know what I’d do with them.

The only models I bought weren't as epic those above, but I was taken with them. Steve Barber Models has a 28mm Prehistoric Settlment range, including prehistoric animals, that I really liked. I picked up the Cheiftan and some hunters with flint spears. And I plan to pick a bunch more.

My other notes from the day are to check out after entering their charity raffle for an Ultramarine army, and to look up the animal range from Warbases.

It was a full afternoon. I’ll really need to start playing more if I want an excuse to pick up some of these miniatures.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mad Max 1: The Road Warriors

Gorkamorka was always my favourite game back in the day, and I have been hoarding some bits from my eBay buying and selling.

A project I have wanted to do since I was a kid is create a Mad Max-themed Digga mob. In the Warhammer 40k world, Diggas are the humans that were stranded on Angelis when the Orks crashed on the planet. With their ship destroyed, they became a tribal society living in abandoned Necron tunnels and imitating the orks, who were more suited for the desert world. With the new Mad Max film coming out this year, I thought it would be fun to do.

The pieces I have collected for the project are:

A variety of trukks, trakks and bikes to choose from. Will probably go with three bikes a trukk and a trakk.

Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Mauraders

Imperial Guard Catachans

Actual Digga models

40k Chaos Cultists
Ork driver bits

And this chap from LOTR that I thought could be a good Shaman with his “findin’ rod”
These guys are going to be a bit bigger and tougher than usual Diggas. I might use the Digga models as yoofs. The Catachans and Mauraders can be chopped up and spliced together, and I think I might even use the Cultists as they are, with their chaos symbols filed off. Anyway, first step is to give them a Detol bath and strip the paint.

Mordhiem Part 2: Into the City

Game day!

The orcs had a rough start but came out on top.

The first fight saw them up against a dwarf warband, playing the breakthrough scenario. I just needed to get a few of my boys to the other side of the table. It should have been easy enough, but it did not go well.
I set up first, and decided to split the boys up and try to sneak through. The dwarfs set up with snipers on the roofs and ambushes prepared at both of the two points the scenery funnelled towards. They were ready for me, but my warband was mostly interested in fighting themselves. The animosity rule made for a delayed start, with three turns passing before I could start moving the bulk of my boys towards the action. I messed up by splitting the group. And by not playing the orcs very well.
My archers didn't have the skills needed to pick off his snipers. They were picked off themselves.

My shaman wasn't suited to making a diving charge in to hand to hand combat from a story above in a ruined building. He fell to his death.

And by splitting up, my boys weren't strong enough to break through the dwarf ambushes.

I chose not to route and flee as soon as I had the opportunity.

In the post battle sequence, the damage I had done to the dwarfs turned out to be severe though. I had knocked out his warband's leader permanently. My opponent decided that the hit was too much this early in the campaign and scrapped his warband all together. My boys got away with just cuts and bruises.

My second battle was more successful, and also resulted in the permanent death of another warband leader!

I was up against Marienburg Mercenaries, who had two games’ worth of experience more than me. We played the surprise attack scenario and I was the one to be surprised. Through some unlikely dice rolls, I only fielded one henchman.

In his log of the battle, my opponent wrote:
It all started when we spotted a lone orc looting through a building, figuring to kill him and maybe get the drop on some of his associates we proceeded to spread out in to ready a proper ambush. Alas his mates were closer than we expected. we didn’t set a proper rearguard and before we know it Darrius was being brought down by two orc brutes, barely seconds later Jack was down under the axe of the first orc charging down at him. I charged in to help the boys now fighting alone and managed to down one of the brutes, but not before they had dropped both Rico and Elliott. 
As I understand it the rest of the crew faired quite well pin cushioning squigs and orcs as they arrived, but with most of the officers down in a bloody heap I decided to grab who we could and make out while we could before any more of the beasts arrived.  
His warband leader went out of action and was sent to the arena to be clobbered to death by a pit fighter. I left the day 39 gold crowns and two warp shards richer. I'm going to use it to properly equip my heroes, and put some aside to save up for a troll.

Mordhiem Part 1: The Gathering Horde

I am playing Mordheim! Putting together a warband will be my first proper Warhammer project since I was about 14.

I've been planning to play with some friends for a while now. The campaign kicked off a month or so back but I had to miss the first session. Despite not playing yet, I am already through my third warband. I wanted to play Shadow Warriors, the awesome high elf warband. I bought models, but then learned that the warband was booted from the game for being unbalanced. I then moved on to the Undead. But, I wanted to make a warband without spending any new money, just money in my Paypal account that I raised by buying and selling models for a small profit. Vampires and dire wolves are expensive, even second hand, so I wouldn't have been able to complete the warband. 

By now, the next game day was planned and so I had to think fast. I put together a shabby mob from some bitz boxes I had lying around.

Introducing the Bitcebachs Boyz:

Pronounced “bitz box”, the Bitcebachs Boyz are a ravaging mob ready to tear a part the dammed city of Mordhiem.

The squigs are the only thing I bought. I am using war haggises from Black Hat Minuatures as proxies. They only cost a fiver. The company is quite neat, and from a work side project-perspective, is the type of project I’d love to get my hands on. They have some great models, and with a bit of growth hacking strategies, an email marketing programme and some fun social media, I reckon I could help them sell a tonne of miniatures . Something like that would be a dream side project.

I bought bases too. Resin ones from Dreamscape.

I soaked the models in Detol and stripped the paint. I spent two evenings painting them. It isn't the best job, but I think it was a decent first attempt. When I have some more time, a friend who paints at a pro level is going to teach me some proper techniques that he says are easy and will improve the quality drastically.

I switched some models out from the first pic as I dug up better figures. Here they are, ready for action: