Monday 30 March 2020

Iron Snakes: 2000 Point Army TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Well, after 6 long years, I have finally done* it. In the late hours of Saturday I finished my final* Iron Snakes model! This project has been an amazing roller-coaster ride, from start to finish*. It all began in Greece, when my wife was feeling bad that she had forgotten to get me a Birthday present (seriously though; I didn't mind!). I went searching for a 40K related online gift that may remind me of the trip, and ended up ordering some Greek-style space marine helmets and Iron Snakes shoulder pads, kick-starting my 40K odyssey.

I used those first parts on a squad of Sternguard, which I named Squad Lakodeme. With its ranks filled with recruits taken from the great undersea forge hives of Ithaka, Squad Lakodeme is renowned for its access to the Chapter's combi-weapon arsenal, as well as their indefatigable nature; holding the line at all costs. The squad is led by skull-helmed Veteran Sergeant Thanatos, following the disappearance of Mikos of Lakodeme, to realms unknown.

Squad Lakodeme

It soon became a test-bed for every crazy conversion and modelling idea I could think of, as well as every new painting technique. I quickly added a Contemptor to my collection as well as a Master of the Forge. Where most Techmarines are concerned with fortifications, Odyssean is a maker of shields, trusting in the strength of flesh to build his walls.

Ancient Nestor is deeply respected by the Iron Snakes, having experienced combat the likes of which few survive to re-tell. He often gives advice during combat that seems mad, but it stems from a deep wellspring of knowledge. Those who put their trust in him soon find the tides of battle turning in their favour.

Ancient Nestor and Master of the Forge Odyssean

When Centurions were released and started winning games with their Grav cannons, I bought two kits with plans of making my growing army competitive. Instead, I spent years converting them with plasma cannons, assault cannons and custom laser cut shields from ML Shields. The squad I painted was my Squaduary project for several years in a row!

Equipped with a combination of the finest heavy weapons the armories of Karybdis can supply, and massive storm shields from the forge of Odyssean himself, Squad Aegis is as intractable and destructive as a Landraider (which the Iron Snakes rarely field). Led by the humble Sergeant Kryto, the squad often forgoes the whims of hubris to shore up defenses where they are needed the most, where another squad has over-extended itself.

Squad Aegis assault cannon combat squad

After receiving an Imperial Knight Warden from Dave over at Confessions of a 40K Addict, the spoils of a wonderful terrain building competition, I decided to add some Knight allies to the army. The plan was for each knight to embody one of the great heroes of ancient Greek Mythology, Perseus, Theseus and Achilles. Each would have a free-hand symbol that represents each hero's greatest conquest.

Following their fateful and disastrous undertaking to Pylos, the remnants of House Feardrakken's expeditionary detachment was evacuated by Iron Snakes fleet assets. Having impressed the Iron Snakes with their mettle during the Battle of the Sea Gate, they were assigned honorary titles by Seydon; "Perseus" Intrepidus, "Theseus" Ferrum Fortis and "Achilles" Aeternus. They fought in defense of the Reef Stars for decades, before finally returning to their homeworld in glory.

"Theseus" Ferrum Fortis and Squad Aegis plasma cannon combat squad

Of course, Primaris Marines eventually hit the shelves and I had to make a hard decision; should I branch out and incorporate some of the new designs in my force or keep them on this side of the Rubicon Primaris. Reading Brothers of the Snake again, I realised that their Chapter Master, Seydon, was famous for being HUGE. He also keeps himself hidden behind a hooded cloak frequently and breathes with a respirator. I also read Spear of the Emperor, which described a Chapter led by a Primaris Chapter Master whose surgery had gone...awry. These two pieces fit together for me pretty neatly; Seydon could already be Primaris. I converted him using parts from the Primaris Captain kit, as well as many odds and ends I had in my bits box.

"Chapter Master Seydon was just a shadow: robed, mysterious and towering. His cloak was made of broken, polished, wyrm-horn pieces, linked together like a jigsaw puzzle by gold wire. Slow respiration throbbed form the exchanger tanks under his cloak... He was a good meter taller taller than Priad". 

Chapter Master Seydon and Apothecary Khiron

I also converted an Apothecary using parts from a Conquest magazine Reaver and some Ravenwing Command bits. He would represent Khiron, the Apothecary Priad fights to have in his squad. I finished Squad Damocles this year as my Squaduary project, using Conquest magazine Intercessors and a whole bunch of bits to make each of them unique, including more laser cut shields from ML shields. 

With things the way they are, I have no idea when I will get to play with this army. Six years ago when I started, if you told me I would be painting the last miniature in isolation on the two year anniversary of my best friends passing, I honestly don't know what I would have done. It would have definitely been unexpected! Looking at it now, completed*, I feel a huge sense of relief and no small amount of pride. This army and I have been through a lot, both good and bad. I hope you have enjoyed the journey as well, even though is has come to an end*.

2000 points of Iron Snakes

See you across the table,


P.S. Did you spot Ephialtes?

*Pffft, I'm not done yet. Terminators are already primed (Notable Skypio) and I still have a third Imperial Knight to do, which will involve some significant conversion work. 

Saturday 28 March 2020

Iron Snakes: Apothecary Khiron TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Last night was our annual get together to remember Joel, my best mate who passed away a while ago. The other two times we have gathered together like this, we have started the night off at the local Catholic Club, where we used to meet up during our Uni years for a cheap feed. We would then head on back to Wade's place for a night of remembering and laughing/crying into our beers. Of course, last night was a little different, owing to the isolation guidelines in place in Australia (I am not a fan of the term "social distancing", we are all pretty damn close last night, socially speaking). All of my mates logged into a Discord chat and spent the night chatting about the world. We are spread out pretty far and wide (one of us dialed in from New York), so it was heartening to hear everyone's voices.

While we were chatting I got out my Iron Snakes Apothecary and painted him. Khiron is a character in Dan Abnett's Brothers of the Snake; one of my personal favourites. He also happens to be the last marine in my 2000 pt list! At some point Benny fire up Jackbox, which led to about 90 minutes of schoolyard giggling. If there are any wobbly lines in the paint-job, I blame it entirely on the exhausting amount of laughing I did. It was a special night, so there will be no touch-ups of this model. Instead, it will be symbol of the little bit of healing we did last night.

I finished Khiron at about 10.30 pm, then got myself a beverage and played a few games on Jackbox. At some point, people started trickling away into the night (or morning in New York). The few of us remaining made a few plans to set up some online BattleTech games using MegaMek and headed off with fuzzy heads to bed.

So, cheers to you Joel. The first Ghost Bear. Your legacy is secure.

See you across the table,


Sunday 22 March 2020

Monster March: Space Hulk Broodlord TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

I have finished my Monster March project a week ahead of schedule because, as mentioned in my previous post, I now have much bigger (and woodier) fish to fry. This Broodlord is special for two reasons: it is one of the characters on my 2019/20 To-Do list and the paint scheme is a significant departure from my usual speed-painted metallics.

Instead, I chose a more classical genestealer scheme. The paints I used were Purple (Model Colour) and Periscope (Panzer Aces), from Vallejo. This will be really handy when it comes around to painting the normal genestealers, as I will be able to use the airbrush for most of the scheme.

I painted a mixture of Deathwing and Blood Angels Terminator helmets on the base, as I am hoping to have models to represent both factions in my set. Painting all of those skulls was a bit of a nightmare, to be honest. After the initial coat and washes they looked very messy, so I needed to touch each one up with Bleached Bone and white to make them presentable. I enjoyed weathering the buggins out of the rest of the base, though.

Pink isn't a colour I use very often, but I think I managed to get it right on the tongue. Even though they were small, the teeth were a lot of fun to paint; I don't think I have painted white teeth before!

Part of me wishes I had pushed the highlights a little brighter, but finished is better than perfect at this stage. From this angle you can also see the Deathwing helm in the Broodlords claw. I think the white contrasts nicely against the darker carapace armour.

Next in the Space Hulk project I will be painting the Blood Angels Librarian, to round-out the characters. That won't be for a while though, as I tackle the Sylvaneth Treelord for the Monsters painting competition and finally... finally... finish the Sisters of the Thorn for Penny. Until then, it is definitely time to give myself a stamp!


See you across the table,


Monster March: Week 4 Progress

Hi folks,

We have just started the fourth week of the March, which is a little late to be starting a month-long painting challenge. Thankfully, me pledge isn't too big this time. My main goals for this hobby season were to paint some of by Space Hulk figures, so working on this Broodlord feels like I am killing two birds with one stone (don't kill birds, kids). Today I started with a Vallejo Purple and Periscope undercoat, which went on like a dream. The skulls were undercoated in Dead Flesh (or something gross sounding like that).

I spent a little bit of time adding some shade by washing the model with darker purples and Nuln Oil. The skulls also got a sepia wash, followed by Nuln oil. I think went through and picked out detail, such as the veins, eyes, teeth and armour on the head.

I also painted the terminator helmets in both Blood Angels and Deathwing schemes to reflect the boarding teams I will be working on.

To finish it off I just need to highlight the Periscope colour (dark turquoise), the black claws and work some metallics into the base.

So there is some quick progress! In other news, my local GW is running a Monsters painting competition ending 25 April which I decided to enter. The main reason for this was to support the business. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time I go there it will be closed and I'll be pushing my painted competition entry through a trapdoor with a long stick. I bought myself a Sylvaneth Start Collecting box, so my entry will be a Treelord of some description. Oscar came with me and some Gryphounds caught his eye; I couldn't say no to them either. Considering we'll be at home quite a bit from now on, a few hobby distractions will be welcome for all of us.

Sooo, that escalated quickly! I am pretty sure I can get the Broodlord done with another hour of work, but the Treelord is going to be a lot of (fun) work.

See you across the table,


Friday 20 March 2020

BattleTech: Foxfire Mercenaries Update

Hi folks,

During the last week I have been spending a bit of time each night painting to help reduce stress. I have been catching up on my BattleTech projects, in particular, a new mercenary unit I have had on my mind for a while. Foxfire company will be featuring some classic designs that were re-imagined in the new starter box, using a custom paint scheme I devised to give a few nods to things I love. It features the colour orange to invoke the concept of foxes, though really it is just me expressing my Dutch heritage (foxfire has nothing to do with foxes, after all!). Foxes are really cool in Japanese mythology, so I am also tapping into the kitsune mythos.The green spot colour represents the actual Foxfire they are all named after.

Foxfire: fungal bioluminescence

I have used white because, when you paint it well, people really notice and it doesn't overpower everything else. I also need the practise, as white has always been a huckleberry over my persimmon. The black legs are actually meant to represent what we call "Kung Fu pants". Let's just say I had a mate who was famous for wearing his Kunf Fu training pants all the time... everywhere. Here are the first four 'Mechs in the company parade scheme:

Wolverine: a medium weight, short/medium range brawler with fairly high maneuverability.

Thunderbolt: a brutal heavy weight brawler, which really shines at medium and close range.

Awesome: an assault class medium/long range obliteration engine. Calling it a sniper would be OK, if all snipers carried three rifles that fired lightning!

Griffin: my personal favourite of the four, the Griffin is a medium/long range sniper with fairly high maneuverability.

Here is a group shot; I have to say I am pretty darned happy with how the scheme has worked out. I have quite a few more to do, so I keep an eye out for the rest of the company.

I'll be switching focus to Monster March now (only 3 weeks down already!), as things have escalated in that regard pretty quickly!

See you 1.5 metres (at least) across the table,


Sunday 15 March 2020

Toss a Comment to Your Blogger


Hi folks,

Towards the end of February I started trolling through my favourite blogs, so that I could make the most of Old Stuff Day. If you have ever been involved in this community event, you will know that it celebrates a range of blogging activities, but particularly encourages participants to re-post old blog articles. What I found was disheartening, though not entirely unexpected.

Looking back it was clear that many blogs have been inactive for a long time. My blogroll was looking a bit like a time capsule, to be honest. Some of the bloggers I would regularly chat with online aren't a presence on blogger anymore and I hadn't really caught up with them for a long time. Some bloggers have intentionally taken a step back from the hobby, which I totally respect. Many others have shifted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter because they prefer the format and know that many readers have moved there. I spent a bit of time chasing up a few and reconnecting on their turf, which has been cathartic; Joe (Broken Paintbrush), Greggles (Feed Your Nerd), D Power (I'm Alone with a Dream) and The Mad Mek (The Mad Mek's Workshop) to name a few. But blogging is my jam, yo (see if you can read that with an Aussie accent).

We have already discussed the reasons for these changes, with the societal shift towards more instant gratification on social media being the most obvious culprit. With it, readers have moved away from engaging with the longer form of blogging. Blog views and comments have gone down, which has been disheartening to an extent (depending on your motivation for blogging) and people have moved on. Google+ used to be a good in-between, allowing you to post in the short format but provide easy links for people to follow down the rabbit hole. When it shut down and all the comments on blogs were wiped, it was a bitter pill for me. As I have mentioned previously, comments on a blog are like seems of gold through bedrock. Apart from the obvious appeal of recording my hobby exploits, connecting with readers has been a great pleasure for me the past 6 years, so losing the evidence of this was hard. I have also has some serious spam issues, with malicious links forcing me to moderate comments now (I publish legitimate comments as soon as possible, whether they are positive or negative).

A quick experiment: if you have a blogroll, take a look at how many blogs have not posted anything in the past 3 months, or even 12 months. How many have posted for the final time and said their goodbyes?

What I am going to suggest isn't mind-blowing; you may very well be doing it already. I also don't need it done for my benefit, I am very appreciative of the comments I already get.

If there is a blog that you read regularly and appreciate, but haven't ever personally engaged with, leave them a comment. Introduce yourself and take a risk by sharing your opinion. You may decide to do what I did when I started this journey: pick a shortlist of blogs that you can commit to visiting and supporting with both your time and your opinions. Whilst blogging isn't about getting lots of page reads (we have other reasons to do it) the connections we make with other people help drive us on. There are fewer of us now, so it is worthwhile supporting those link-minded souls.

TL;DR: Toss a comment to your blogger!

See you across the table,


Thursday 12 March 2020

Monster March: Space Hulk Broodlord

Hi folks,

It feels like Squaduary finished only yesterday; it always takes me a while to recover from February. Painting a squad from start to finish in a month is a real challenge for me, primarily because I am such a hobby butterfly but also because teachers (who are also parents) are so time poor. Let's just say sacrifices had to be made at the altar of midnight (i.e. the paint table of 2 am).

Anyway, I was taking a close look at by blog roll just after March rolled in and what I saw was pretty sad. It's worth a blog post this weekend when I have wrapped my head around it. Short story is that I spent a couple of hours hunting down active blogs, particularly of the people I have been talking to online. My blog-fossicking led me to Path of an Outcast and something called Monster March.

During Monster March hobbyists are encouraged to work on and, hopefully, complete a monster from their chosen game system. For my inaugural year, I'll be painting the Space Hulk Broodlord!

It is a fearsome model with a great pose and lots of small details. I'll be painting it in the classic blue and purple scheme, though I am hoping to achieve a lot of contrast between the armour and the skin tones. To this end, while everyone else in Sydney was buying toilet paper, I was stocking up on paints:

I'll be aiming for something a little bit like this, though I have chosen a warmer purple for the skin. Note, the picture below is not my model, just the reference photo I am going to use for inspiration.

It will be a real change from my usual Tyranid scheme:

Wish me luck! 12 days down already!! WEEEEE!!!

See you across the table,


Monday 2 March 2020

Old Stuff Day!

Hi folks,

Happy Old Stuff Day!!! With a blog called "Old School Gaming" I guess it is no surprise that Old Stuff Day is one of my favourite days of the year. This year I thought I would do something a little different and cleave a little closer to the original spirit of the occasion, by visiting my favourite blogs and posting some links to articles I have enjoyed.

Old School Gaming

To start with, I'll dredge up an old favourite from my own blog. A while ago I interviewed my wife on what it is like to live with an Old School gamer and posted her responses to my questions. It is quite illuminating for those deeply entrenched in the hobby, I think: enjoy!


It took me way longer than I care to admit to find Siph_Horridus' blog. I literally stumbled upon it whilst searching for other blogs that feature obscure Chapters of Space Marines. Siph_Horridus collects Relictors ("collects" is an understatement) and posted an RTB01 Relictors squad for Squaduary a few years ago. It is pure awesome sauce.

Chucking Monkeys

I have been following MonkeyChuka's work on a couple of platforms for ages; his Tyranids are to die for (literally). This tutorial on how to paint Hive Fleet Nidrot doesn't bring me remotely closer to being able to paint like that, but it is as inspiring as heck.

Cadian Shock: Warhammer 40K Blog

Deep down inside, I am a tread-head. I love tanks in 40K and lament the fact that I have so many unpainted. Well, this blog is a tread-heads delight. This post in particular reminds me of an old White Dwarf battle report, where a player asks for advice before the game, to which the reply was "how many Leman Russ do you have?". It is not that old a post, but if it inspires you, you will dig for more (you know you want to). From a bloggers perspective, it really does set the bar high as well. I wish I had the patience to document a finished project so comprehensively!

Confessions of a 40K Addict

There was a time when I really cut back on my social media/forum/blog engagement. There were only a few blogs that I kept my eyes on, having made a commitment to myself that I would try and be more active from a community point of view. Fewer blogs, but more investment. Dave's blog was one of the few that I kept, mainly because it so closely paralleled my own interests (Dark Angels and Tyranids!). He also seemed like a really top bloke :-) I would be happy posting a link to any one of his old posts here, but I will pick an obscure one for simple nostalgia reasons. Every year for the past 6 years I have joined with other 40K Addict fans to write a To-Do list that I promptly/mostly ignore until some kind of mad existential panic sets in around July. This post was when I first took the plunge and joined the alumni.  You should totally join us next year... you know you want to... there are badges...

P.S. I have made some progress on those Iron Snakes!

St Andrews Wargaming

Corrm has a fantastic collection of diverse articles on his blog. I humbly submit exhibit A, a detailed post about how the shooting phase has evolved since 2nd Edition.  Having started my 40K journey during 2nd Ed. I could vividly remember playing each and every iteration of pew pew, for better or for worse. It brought back so many memories of old games. Brilliant!

The Beard Bunker

This blog is utterly brilliant. I don't quite know what to say about my choice of post for Old Stuff Day here, as the link will take you to a recent post. Go and check it out, if you will, then subscribe and explore the rest. The post I will send you to was written by a member of the Beard Bunker crew who recently passed away, and was posted posthumously. It made me think about a lot of things; what I would do if I was in the same position, or what others may do for me, friends I have lost and the good times I have had with friends through the medium of this amazing hobby. Anyway, take a deep breath, here is the link.

The Burning Eye

It's just before midnight here in Sydney, so I had better publish this post before Old Stuff day is over for another year. I started trolling through The Burning Eye for a post to show everyone but ended up reading a whole bunch and couldn't pick a single one, so here, choose your own adventure! I don't have much time for competitive play, list building, codex reviews or battle reports except when they are from The Burning Eye. The blog is just getting back into the swing of things (keep at it!), so hit it up for some rules analysis, with a healthy side order of wonderfully painted and competitive Primaris models. Seeing how the Swords of Dawn have developed in both paint scheme and composition has been a joy and worth sharing.

That's it for now, I'll leave you with this old school project my son is helping me with; 2nd Edition card bunkers!!! I should have them finished during the weekend sometime, ready for some Old School 2nd Edition Gaming.

I realise I have taken some liberties in screen-shotting everyone's blogs and posting the images here. If you want me to remove the images of your blog, let me know and I will do so. Thanks for all of the amazing posts you folks have created over the years.

See you across the table,


Sunday 1 March 2020

Squaduary: Squad Damocles TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Like many 40K bloggers, I have been burning the midnight oil to get my Squaduary project finished in time. My last project, Centurion Squad Aegis, actually took three Squaduarys to finish! This year I was working on some Primaris Marine models from the first two issues of Conquest magazine (the only ones I could afford in Australia, after the local newsagents all conspired to jack the price up so high it would be cheaper to get everything from GW).

The challenge was to make three sets of identical miniatures look unique. I have tried to do this by converting them to carry custom laser-cut shields and doing a couple of head swaps. The shields have the following etched into their front panel:

"Fear the snake, enemies of man. For his coils encircle us and his bright eyes unblinking watch over us forever"

Sergeant Priad is armed with the lightning claw he is described as having in Dan Abnett's Brothers of the Snake.

I knew that converting 10 marines to all carry shields was going to be a stretch, so the second rank is armed with bolt rifles, but also includes a standard bearer with Squad Damocle's colours and a heavy plasma cannon...

Sergeant Priad stopped Andromak at the bottom of the assault ramp. "Brother, it is customary for Primaris to eschew the use of heavy weaponry. We sacrifice mobility at our peril." Andromak hefted the massive plasma cannon one-handed. "My apologies, Sergeant Priad. It looked small in the armoury...".

I have chosen the colour red for Damocles (Lakodeme is white and Aegis is blue). I had to fashion a rough template out of green painter's tape to get it right; with time running out I couldn't afford to repaint the whole thing. Oh, and delta is for Damocles ;-)


The comtech is a re-imagining of one of my very first models. The pose with the auspex is spot on and the auxiliary grenade launcher is even more reminiscent of Hicks from Aliens than the original model achieved (it is now lost to the grey tide in the garage).

I have to say that the Primaris aesthetic is growing on me, though I can not imagine completely starting a new army of them.

I have tried a new technique with the plasma glow that really jacks up the contrast between the glowing coils and the weapon housing.

I am very pleased with how the squad turned out, especially considering how fast I did them. It definitely helped getting all of the free-hand work done in one session, as the repetition made it easier and it was a real morale boost to have the hardest part already "in the bag' during the final couple of hours.

So... what next for the Iron Snakes? I have apothecary Khiron still left to paint and then I will have a 2000 point army finished; my third in 18 months. After that, I can finally focus on my actual to-do list for 2019/20 and paint my Space Hulk set!

See you across the table,