Saturday 25 February 2017

Old School Gaming: Wifey Speaks!

Hi folks,

A while ago, when I was starting to get into blogging more seriously, I had a serious chat with the wifey about my hobby. The journey from being a single gamer to a husband with two kids has been an interesting one, involving a bit of angst and loads of patience and compromise. It was very interesting to hear her perspective on the whole thing, so I have decided to interview her and post the answers here.

Regardless of your relationship status, her responses may give you some insight into how the hobby effects relationships. If you do have a significant other, they may find this post interesting as well. I don't know if this is worthy of being "a thing", but feel free to copy the questions and give your loved ones a voice on your blog.


1) How did you find out that I was a tabletop gamer?

I was a nosey teen and had only just met you. We were at your house and I found them in a draw. You had to explain what they were to me.

Wifey and two friends came over to visit one day after a uni lecture. One of them joked that I probably had a porn stash hidden somewhere, so they went searching for it. They found 3000 points worth of Dark Angels: bwah ha ha!

2)   What did you think of my hobby when you first found out?

To be honest I didn’t think anything of it, it was just something you did. It was only when I started dating you and the hobby came along as part of the package did I realise it was well, part of the package.

3)   Have you ever been tempted to have a go at it yourself?

Yes, I tried my hand at 6th edition Dark Elves and a Lelith Hesperax. I had some Dark Elves themed for mountainous/snow type terrain. I even glued amethyst stones to the bases. I used folk art paint and you were so jealous that I had flesh coloured paint out of a tube, where as you had to make it from scratch.

The Morathai model got me in. I really liked the horse she rode. But the horses for the mounted troops had really terrible heads so I didn’t want to paint them. Around the same time the LOTR Ring Wraiths came out. The horse models were so much better, but they were the wrong scale and too expensive to make a unit from.

I also tired quickly of painting 20 witches and 20 warriors!

5)   Do you have a favourite model?

Suriel -  He was always the tabletop representation of you. But I noticed yesterday that you repainted his Naginata blade. I don’t approve. And the shield isn’t great; I thought that was new too, but you said he always had it. I don’t think he has. He needs a makeover.

Yikes! The muse has spoken and she is offended! There was a period of a few years when he didn't have the shield and I was at high school. When the wifey started collecting Dark Elves I snaffled a shield to cover up a poorly executed join in the arm. I guess it is time to fix him up :-)

6)   Do you have a model that you hate? 

Na, I don’t hate those little guys.  They can’t help it if they are not too pretty.

7) What is something that you really appreciate about what I do?

In total I think you have been painting Warhammer for about 21 years? I have watched you paint Warhammer for 16 years. For most of this time I think that your skills were focused on army selection and paint schemes. The last 4 years have been all about making something interesting, trying new techniques and not being afraid of stripping paint and starting again. I like the last 4 years of the hobby better. I think the freedom of not being bound by a codex, theme or colour scheme has allowed you to create unique and interesting pieces.

Also, in theory you can fix the kids broken toys with your gluing and pinning skills.  I have several plastic horses who need their legs put back on, however they have been sitting on the hobby table for months…

I'll get right on it...

8) What is something that you don’t like about what I do?

There were a few things, not so much any more. In the old days, every Friday night you would go to a mates place to play. This was not conducive to dating and my social life. Maybe I should have hung out with my friends but they were hanging with their boyfriends.

I know there has been the odd occasion where I have really resented your miniatures because they received more attention than me. Are we having a therapy session right now!?

The other thing is, the need to hold onto ALL the bits and the sprues etc.

Please someone take away the Lord of the Rings miniatures that have hardly ever been opened.

After spending the week away from each other, choosing to spend my first free moments with my mates playing games instead of with my future wife was not sustainable or particularly sensitive on my part. Getting the guys to understand this was hard... until they started going out with people and getting married.

 Also, I’m never getting rid of those LOTR figures, I'm just building up the skills to paint them properly. Another 10 years and I'll be good to go!

9) If....IF you played 40K, what army would you collect?

I have a soft spot for Tyranids and Orks.  Neither if these armies/races/species (???) take themselves too seriously. Tyranids just need a good feed and Orks just wanna have fun.

Deathleaper having a good feed.

10) What army would you NEVER play?


11) What board games do you like to play?

We have Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Akrotiri, Takenoko and Pandemic as faithful go to’s. I would like to try some others but at $80+ a game it is hard to justify going out on a limb and just buying a game to try.

I like playing games on the XBOX. I am working my way through the Assasin’s Creed games very slowly. We have played a lot of Halo and  I liked Fable until it glitched one too many times and I rage quitted. On the old XBOX I had a game that I absolutely loved, called Sphinx.

12) What do you think I should work on next?

I think you should finish the lighthouse that I saw on your to-do list. I also think you should use more rusting effects and play with the airbrush I bought you.

So there you have it; the wifey has spoken. We have come a long way, celebrating our 17th year together in 2017. During this time she has been wonderfully supportive, which has included helping me to realise when my hobby priorities are putting a strain on the relationship. She has a keen eye for rubbish projects: if something doesn't look right she will let me know and she is almost always correct. I have learned to accept her hunches about things, which has lead to some great growth in me as a modeller and painter.

Happy Birthday wifey, you're the best,


Wednesday 15 February 2017

Iron Snakes: Centurion Squaduary Progress

Hi folks,

Progress is progress, as they say. It has been pretty difficult just to get through the days this week, so I wasn't expecting much in terms of creativity. I have managed to undercoat all of my Iron Snakes Centurions in Leadbelchers and Corax White, two of the three main colours of the scheme. On the weekend I will be laying down the bronze, in preparation for some verdigris weathering. This will give me two weeks to paint all of the detail if I am to get these guys done for Squaduary.

I have left the right shoulder off, as they were undercoated white, separately. I am going to paint the Iron Snakes symbol on those pretty early on in the process, as free-style painting is probably the hardest part of my scheme: best to get it out of the way.

For the bases, I am going to use my usual mixture of flock and static grass with some laser cut ferns, to match the base on my Contemptor.  I have been eying off the new Custodians Contemptor and imagining it all verdigris-ed up... I may have to make that happen.

Another bit of detail that I will try to knock over early is the faces. I have been improving my eye an skin techniques, especially since I started painting Infinity figures, so I shouldn't have too many problems (probably just wishful thinking...). If I get any more Centurions I think I will scrounge some more crested helms off the community.

I am really happy with how the first plasma cannon linked up with the power plant on the Centurions back. It was a lucky coincidence, as I have had to model an emergency heat-sink to connect the other one to. You can't really tell from the front, but if you turn the model around you can see the cannon is attached to a device on the base with vents made out of meltagun barrels (surely they can withstand some excess heat). I am looking forward to painting the cannon with some overheating effects.

In other news, I have started writing some articles for The Golden D6 Online Wargaming Magazine. This year I have been trying a few different ways to give back to the community that I love, such as commissioning work and parts from various up-and-coming artists, editing articles to help out some new bloggers and participating in as many community events as I can. I love the idea of dedicated gamers recapturing the good old days of hobby magazines, so I have decided to offer GD6 my support. They have been kind enough to post my profile on their website as a contributor; most of you know me well enough already, but if you want to know a bit more, go check it out. I'll be posting some extra insights into my Iron Snakes projects as well as some tutorials. If that interests you, consider checking the magazine out and supporting a great community initiative. Even better, consider writing an article or two yourself!

Finally, I wanted to thank everyone for your support last week. My family is still in shock, but the care shown to us by so many people has carried us through the worst of it. I'll be working on a special project to honour my little shadow, which I'll post here in commemoration.

See you across the table,


Wednesday 8 February 2017

A Black Dog Day

Hi folks,

Last night my dog Gypsy passed away, after 7 wonderful years of fun and companionship. Her health had rapidly deteriorated over 48 hours, completely stumping our vet. It turns out she had diabetes, which didn't really cause her any trouble, until the night it took her away from us.

She was beautiful, intelligent, sassy and fiercely loyal. She was my little shadow.

Right now, I'm at a complete loss. I don't really want to do anything, which I know is a natural response to grief; God knows I have experienced my fair share of it before. I deeply appreciate the great online community we have, so if I am a little quiet for a while, please don't take it personally. I am going to take a little time to love my family and guide my kids through this experience. If you have a dog, let it sleep on the bed tonight; I wish I could.

See you across the table,


Friday 3 February 2017

Iron Snakes: Centurion Squad Build Complete

Hi folks,

Squaduary is a hobby challenge being held this February, organised by Rory from Stepping Between Games. The idea is to construct and paint a squad of Infantry for your army, that has perhaps been waiting a little to long for some love. Well... I have plenty of squads that would fit that bill, but my Iron Snakes Centurions are at the top of the list. I had a bit of a head start with Kryto, the sergeant pictured above, because I wanted to see if the concept was worth pursuing. Last night, feeling confident but exhausted from my first week back at work, I converted the final two Centurions to be armed with plasma cannons.

"You did what now?" I hear the internet howl. I conceived of these Centurions being up-scaled versions of my Sterguard, which are equipped with combi-plasma weapons. Of course there is no Codex entry for this but MOAR PLASMA.

The first Centurion is my favourite. If you have built Centurions before you will know that the pieces aren't easily interchangeable between poses; you have to be very careful following the instructions for each arm position. Everything interlocks and the design elements are layered in such a way that modifying one piece effects the positioning of many pieces.  Despite that, this guy came together perfectly, with the power supply of the plasma cannon bending all the way up to attach on the power plant. He also has a very "come at me bro" look to him.

There's nothing like miniature photography to highlight the flash that you forgot to remove the night before...

The other Centurion was the polar opposite; everything was more difficult. Primarily, the power supply of the plasma cannon had no way of connecting to the power plant without changing its look completely. I had a long look at the pose after dry fitting it and came up with a bit of a story for this guy, that will play out as I base him and with the paint scheme.

I am going to paint the plasma cannon as if it has been fired and is overheating. The power coupling will be attached to an emergency heat sink on the base behind the figure. It looked to me as if this guy was grimacing while he unloads with the heavy bolter, plasma cannon held aloft as it recharges and cools down.  This mini-diorama that tells a story seems to me like a better idea than forcing the conversion any further. Let me know what you think ;-)

See you across the table,