Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Iron Sleet Invitational - Take Two

Well, I managed to get four of my squaddies ready for the Iron Sleet Invitational, but I was delayed with the officer for lack of a torso. Anyway, I was kindly given a week to finish him and retake the photos for the Sleeters big reveal. Despite a couple of modelling dead-ends and a minor design shuffle, I got him finished in record time (well, a personal best anyway).

I decided that a mounted officer was the way to go, so I packed his horse with the same distribution of equipment seen on the cavalrymen in WW1. The steed is also wearing a style of gasmask seen in the latter months of the war (which covered the muzzle, but didn't include glass lenses for the eyes). I've already talked about the differences in swords between officers and NCOs, so whilst my sergeant has one forged in their thousands on an assembly line, my lieutenant one bespoke, crafted by artificers (although it is his father's sword - my lieutenant is young, given his commission by virtue of his family's social standing; the Thorn Moons is his first field of battle).  

I remounted my boys on a 1912 copy of the Kings Regulations that I found in the depths of my library for added flavour.

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Iron Sleet Invitational

It's about time I wrote something about it seeing as I've been beavering away at my guardsmen for a goodly fortnight. The Sleeter's terms were simple; to explore the nightmarish future of the 41st Millennium through the eyes of the humble guardsman. It certainly is an interesting proposal and one that I've seen interpreted a number of different ways by other modellers. Some have chosen to focus on a cohesive look for their regiment, whilst others have gone for a riotous band of individuals.

I'd like to think that I've gone for the middle ground with my interpretation; a cohesive look for my regiment and adding a smattering of individual touches. Another thing I noticed when I first started was that the feudalism aesthetic was flavour of the month, so I had to rethink my approach. In the end I went in a direction I'd gone before; the WW1 aesthetic.

For me, the first World War is perhaps the closest real life event we have that mirrors what war is like in the 41st Millennium; they had vast advances in technology but their military tactics hadn't really advanced much since the Napoleonic era. I've also read it described as the most brutal war mankind has ever fought, not to mention the accounts of the veterans who described trench warfare on the frontlines to be the closest thing to a genuine hell on earth.

I did not seek to glorify the nature of that war in my aesthetic, nor caricature the very real nightmare those veterans suffered in those four hellish years, but rather hope to present these two theme in a very visceral way. However, it has occurred to me only now that the deadline is upon us, that Remembrance Sunday is just around the corner.

So it is that the Albion IV 'Iron' Corps, 27th (Mercia) Division, 94th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Y Company march to war in the Thorn Moons. As one of the first field armies of the Imperial Crusade into the Crataegus Fragmentum, they were also one of the first to make planetfall into the meatgrinder. These five represent perhaps the last of the Albion IV, cut off from their own, they can only hope to regroup with a friendly force before they're all lost.....

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labours of the day-time;
They sleep beside the Emperor's Throne.

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Thursday, 28 September 2017


The city of Götterdämmerung in the Realm of Ulgu has more than its share of dangers. Those who live out their lives within its walls enjoy more security than those without, providing they know how to ward their homes against the dead and daemonic, stay out of certain neighborhoods, and are careful not to anger the alchemist who lives next door. Of course, every day pallid bards spin tales about those unfortunates who made that one mistake every living thing is supposed to be allowed and wound up on a slab in the city morgue. If they are lucky, the coroner won’t turn out to be a closet necromancer who’d have them shambling around, preying on the living, until the city watchmen get around to brutally putting them to rest once and for all. If they are unlucky, their relatives saved a few coins by slapping them in the ground at a poorly guarded cemetery, where they’d stay until a resurrectionist dug them up for parts or auction the body to the highest (and often the most unsavoury) bidder….and this was all before the coming of the braying hordes of the ruinous powers.

Within a day, everything changed. It started with long-hidden cults, worshipping both the long-forgotten gods of Order and Chaos, tearing at each other in the streets of the city. Next thing you knew, you couldn’t throw a dead cultist without hitting a minor civil war in progress. But it wasn’t a war for territory — no, this was a fight for the very souls of the populous. Before long, the howling armies of Chaos were battering against the city walls. That wasn’t the worst of it. Mortals didn’t fight this war alone. Dark things that legends spoke of only in hushed whispers could be seen from the battlements, a soldier might find his comrade suddenly possessed whilst in combat and aberrant creatures of pure nightmare ambulated over the hills on a multitude of twisted limbs. The ruling guilds, fearing the worst, fled through the realmgate in the centre of the city before it fell silent, leaving the rest of Gotterdammerung to their fates and without leadership.

As swiftly as it began, it was over. There was no winner and it is likely the battle simply moved on to another field, somewhere else, but given that one moment the siege raged on all around them and then the enemy seemingly disappeared the next, the populous were given to believe the (now popular) myth that the shadows of Ulgu simply devoured them. Whilst some of the city lay in ruins, Gotterdammerung had largely weathered the ferocious storm but was forever changed. Those non-mortal entities who survived faded into the shadowed alleyways of the city, maybe waiting for the day when the ruinous powers were in ascendant again. With the loss of the ruling guilds, the remaining senior officers gathered an ad hoc martial council, imposing strict curfews and began the laborious task of rebuilding the shattered quarters of the city.

The biggest change was in the shadow-wolds beyond the city walls. The flora and fauna that had always thrived there increased in number during the war and with the corrupting influence of the chaotic hordes became something altogether more dangerous. With the standing militia of Gotterdammerung refusing to leave the city walls to keep them in check anymore, those who do venture out of the city — by choice or misfortune — face the perils at their own risk. Even before the coming of Chaos, navigable roads were few and far between as much of the shadow-wolds could not be charted due to the constantly shifting landscape. It doesn’t help either that the wilderness beyond the city walls (as does Gotterdammerung itself) exists in a perpetual twilight, choked by thick fog which appears to be more shadow than mist. More than a few travellers have found themselves arriving at their destinations far sooner than they’d planned, having wandered through an umbral-cantrip, or never arriving at all, doomed to an eternity of wandering adrift upon unfamiliar tracts. All that most of the populous can hope is to hide in the relative safety of the city and hope its fortifications are strong enough to keep the creatures out. As the years rolled on, some people liked to pretend that the unnatural, the cursed, and the damned don’t really exist. That they were exaggerations of history or the products of hysteria. But the truth is that things other than human have always been a part of Gotterdammerung, only more visible at certain times than others.

Gotterdammerung is now more isolated than before and the populous are forced to become self-sufficient or starve. Massive allotments were tilled around the city on the grounds of buildings that were razed during the war. Similarly, gargantuan abattoirs were constructed to both breed and slaughter livestock. Anyone caught poaching or tampering with either of these receives an automatic sentence of death.

However, after centuries of interminable silence, the city’s realmgate suddenly reactivated and from it strode forth giants in shining armour haloed in a blue-white light. They weren’t welcomed with awe but rather deep suspicion and the Martial Court of Gotterdammerung were largely disinterested in a return to the worship of Sigmar (indeed, even today, Stormcast are a rare sight on the streets of Gotterdammerung). The traders that followed were perhaps more accepted if not, at least, appreciated and these days Gotterdammerung relies heavily on the trade that comes through the realmgate. Indeed, such is the greed of the city now after so long under the sufferance of relative poverty that rarely is anyone turned away; all are neither welcome nor unwelcome in Gotterdammerung, regardless of their racial characteristics or backgrounds (real or falsified), but all are carefully surveilled by the city watchmen and the paranoid inhabitants.

Today, Gotterdammerung’s inhabitants can be divided into three broad categories: those who can pass for human, those who can’t, and those of the shadow-wolds beyond the city wall. The first broadly covers aelves, duardin and anything else that looks near-Human (or can make itself look that way). Even soulblight vampires and necromancers (often fleeing from the despotic regime of Nagash in Shyish to the only other realm they can survive permanently in). These find it easiest to coexist with humans in the city, can move about with a degree of freedom and, in some places, have gained a measure of acceptance. This won’t save them from being hunted down by the city watch (or the dreaded Judexi of Sigmar) though, if enough deaths are traced to their door or they flagrantly break any one of Gotterdammerung’s many (and sometimes bizarre) laws.

The second group are those who, usually because of how they look, stand out in a crowd. Prejudice and fear (most of it justified) keeps them in the shadows - should they care. While some aren’t completely inhuman, such as Orruks (and other Greenskins), Sylvaneth and Ogors, they’re often considered to be entirely uncivilised and prone to unpredictable behaviour which makes them dangerous neighbours. Their natures make them often appear utterly outlandish to the normally distrusting residents (although most cannot tell the differences between a Dryad and a Daemon) and have come to be regarded in most districts of Gotterdammerung as undesirables. Perhaps the most dangerous are those grotesque creatures that have either never been mortal or are simply too freakish to be believed to exist (who hasn’t heard the lunatic tales of rats the size of men?), that skulk and stalk in the darkest corners of the city.

Despite the efforts of the city watch it is rarely peaceful on darkened streets of the city, and any sense of security is tenable at best. Cults of all kinds are on the rise again, doomsayers cry of grim omens, the lunatic and demented grow in number daily, the dead rarely remain where they’re left, skirmishes and riots breakout on regular occasions and denizens who have long survived in the shadows are drawn out by the smell of spilt blood. The Martial Court try to keep the lid on as the body count goes up but now, more than ever, those who can handle a blade or bow, incant protective wards, sling fireballs from thin air or simply pound an enemy into gristle with their bare hands are in demand. The Martial Court, city watch, and innumerable businesses are all hiring skilled freelancers to take on jobs that need doing. For somebody who knows their way around a fight or a grimoire, the only thing easier to find than employment these days is a quick death….

But as the common proverb in Gotterdammerung goes; the shadows consume all without distinction.

For those of you who have been playing pen and paper RPG's for a while may notice that some of my inspiration for Gotterdammerung has come from a very old RPG done by West End Games called Bloodshadows. I didn't want to make a carbon copy of Mordheim, but rather something equally bleak yet with a little more frenzied life in it.

Recently, whilst browsing through my local charity bookshop, I found a simply delicious artbook for a 2015 Playstation game called Bloodborne (at a very cheap price) which instantly got the imagination ablaze. The pictures I've included here are ones I've managed to find from the internet, but I do urge you to look for the book yourself; its full of rich concept work - perfectly fertile ground for conversions.

Gotterdammerung is pretty much still in draft right now, but please let me know what you think.
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Friday, 11 August 2017

Mor Deythan

Upon blackened pinions
silence takes flight

sombre be their disposition

Lightless eyes of ink
ever watchful
ever patient

Carrion stink
the only betrayal
too late

Darkness shifts and strikes

Bleak be that beak
that tears
whet with retribution

Talons flash
in shadows
they rip out the heart

Desolate wake, inconsolable
corpses and black blood
in moonlight

Carrion stink
on the wind
the only thing left behind


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Grime Lights - A Prequel

Some time ago (this time last year as it happens), I titillated audiences with a tiny teasing of world building.....

Well, okay, I faffed about with some background ideas (see: Ordo Nemuritorus) that never truly came to fruition and no one really noticed....

Since then I made up this little warband of 'less martial' figures who then sat on the top of my bureau to gather dust and cobwebs (literally), whilst I worked on other projects (my Elven Exiles are growing apace).

I've always been meaning to properly build up the world of Pūrvachāti much in the same way as I did with Lychgate last year. In fact, the roots of Pūrvachāti started out quite a few years ago, beginning with my love of the ancient ruins of India and Thailand and their contrast with the more contemporary structures seen in the countries' today.

Originally, I intended to paint these guys in very subdued colours in a similar palette to the Dutch Masters. However, now I'm more leaning towards something more impressionistic, something of a grubby riot of colours.

Anyway, until then....

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Ode to Guilliman

So, I've been reconnecting with some albums that I haven't listened to in while and one of them is rather a favourite of mine. A collaboration by some of the most prominent synthpop/futurepop artists in the circuit currently who called themselves 'Bruderschaft' (Brotherhood) under the direction of Rexx Arkana. It was originally conceived as a charity project for cancer research in the wake of Arkana's father's death after battling the disease.

In 2013, they released a second album (Return) along with a remix of their pinnacle track 'Forever' (in what I believe is a definitive edition - but with Tom Shear spearheading the lyrics, I am grossly biased). It is the lyrics that I feel have a rather eerie message within the 40k universe, especially with the birth of this new Dark Imperium.

But I shall let you judge. 

I don't believe in the existence
Of mercy's guiding hand
Not with all that I have witnessed
I cannot understand
Forever burdened with the knowledge
That I could have been so much more
When the truth is hard to suffer
I knew this all before

There is no comfort in faith
The Heavens still will fall
A thousand towers rise before me
And I cannot climb them all
There is no kind of joy in this
There is no time that it can heal
When emptiness and shadows bliss
There is nothing left to feel

I have not abandoned hope
Though I know there's nothing more
Tired and alone
You forget what you have hoped for

I will walk this ground forever
And stand guard against your name
I will give all that I can offer
I will shoulder all the blame
I am sentry to you now
All your hopes and all your dreams
I will hold you to the light
That's what forever means

I was never what you wanted
I could never, never please
I swallowed all our sorrow
In the midst of my disease
All my fortunes, all my gains
All the battles I have won
Now collapsing like the rain
I stand alone your only son

Take solace in these words
Take notice of this place
Hollow whispers that they are
Like the wind upon my face
Sing softly in my ear
And look at me with wonder
I will try to ease your fear
As the darkness pulls you under

I will walk this ground forever
And stand guard against your name
I will give all that I can offer
I will shoulder all the blame
I am sentry to you now
All your hopes and all your dreams
I will hold you to the light
That's what forever means

The track can be heard here:

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale

Hi, I'm Gretchin and I'm a Sword Art Online-aholic.

Actually, anyone that knows me will tell you that I am very fond of anime, but SAO is very much a favourite. It's not the best anime by a long stretch and many of its critics will cite that it's commercialised tripe, that it's a very prosaic concept, that Reki Kawahara's other work (Accel World) is better, that Log Horizon is better, but I love it. I even have my own steel-replica Elucidator, collect the light novels and my Elven Exiles are all based on SAO characters (as they appear in ALO).

Yeah, I know, I need help.

I mean it does have its faults: it's criticised as being sexist, that the characters display unrealistic psychology, that the dynamic between the characters is stilted and that it sometimes trivialises the situation the characters are in with mundanities. Personally, I found it an emotional rollercoaster that had me crying quite a few times (the end of the Mothers Rosario arc had me in pieces).

Anyway, you can guess how excited I am to see the new film Ordinal Scale which is due for general release in the UK and USA on June 29th. Until then, the trailer will have to suffice.

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Ennui and on Matters Alien

So, lately I've been doing nothing. Well, maybe not 'nothing', but aside from listlessly pottering about on some commissions and slowly working on two miniatures for the Oldhammer Legacy project, I really haven't had the inspiration or motivation to engage in the hobby. The recent inclemently humid weather hasn't helped either.

(This is the point where my diatribe rambles off on tangents that will come together in the end)

I love telling stories. When I was first introduced to the worlds of the 40K universe, I held a particular love for the little fiction-bites you would find in the rulebooks and codices of the 2nd Ed era (especially the very funny short in the Ork Codex when they try to use a weirdboy to psychically probe an Imperial Titan). Yet perhaps it was the tiny panel-short in White Dwarf 195 in their Legion of the Damned article that really sparked off my imagination.

When I entered secondary school, I was lucky enough to find a very old and seldom used computer set-up in a dusty corner of the library that had since been supplanted by a shiny new bank of Windows 95 PCs. It had a black-and-green monochrome interface and a very basic word processor program. I spent many a breaktime on that computer, typing out little bits of fiction (whatever ideas came into my head) and letting my creativity run riot. I remember these were absolutely terrible and prosaic, but they were my first steps.

Four years later, when I moved out of my parents house and into my first bedsit, I was kindly donated a long obsolete Windows 3.2 PC set-up and spent many an evening with the television quietly muttering in the background, tapping out short story after short story (sadly all lost now).

I was first introduced to the shadowy organisation of the Inquisition in Ian Watson's Inquisition War trilogy (Boxtree edition) and in the very hot month of May in 2001, I was one of the first to pick up my copy of Inquisitor (the book and figures pack - the one that came with Covenant and Preacher Yosef)... since then I've created so many Inquisitors, belonging to many different Ordos and adhering to many different philosophies... but never one belonging to the Ordo Xenos.

I can't really lay my finger onto why this might be, but if pushed, I'd have to say that I find the Ordo Xenos less interesting than their adversaries. Sure, they can use xenos weaponry, but they're less hazardous or damning than daemon weapons and their characters just seemed less 'complicated' than their Malleus and Hereticus colleagues. Heck, even Eisenhorn and Ravenor, despite belonging to the Ordo Xenos, didn't seem to do much alien hunting in their stories.

When Shadow Wars: Armageddon was announced, the knee-jerk cynic in me instantly came to the conclusion that GW had been lazy in rereleasing (essentially) Necromunda but without producing any new models. However, that voice was swiftly silenced as I came to the realisation that GW had actually released a skirmish game that anyone with a 40k army already could join in with.

Since then, I've seen some very funky warbands being built, especially those made by Oldhammerers using RT era miniatures. I've also been reintroducing myself to the Alien universe in preparation for the new film, so when GW released PDFs for the other 40k factions, naturally I drafted up a tyranids warband (just waiting on miniatures). I also glanced at the Inquisition PDF too (which I believe was published later) and pretty much dismissed it because it focused solely on the Ordo Xenos, but it bubbled away regardless in the back of my mind.

Almost a decade ago now, I and a friend on the Conclave (back when the board was still black-and-green monochrome) concocted a grand IC xenos conspiracy story that sadly never came to fruition as it became a little too convoluted and we both had very busy real lives. Anyway, in this grand conspiracy, my characters were operating as the antagonists, but a few days ago, it got me thinking about what it would be like to be on the other side of that curtain and the first seeds of a protagonist were planted....

So what has this got to do with anything at all? In a round about way, I guess it means I'm currently designing my first Ordo Xenos inquisitor. I'm downscaling the original conspiracy to something less complicated (seriously, you'd have to a mind like Alpharius to join the dots of the original), working on character background and finding a suitable miniature....

Watch this space!

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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Prototype Avalonnian Knight

The general background is still being sketched out, so it's just pictures for now. He stands a little shy shorter than the Stormcast. Hope he passes muster in this new Age of Sigmar.

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Jovan Voortdurend – A DAoS Witch Hunter

The rise of the witch hunter in the Mortal Realms came out of necessity at the beginning of the Age of Chaos when the isolated settlements of man needed champions armed with both the knowledge and weapons to fight the dark forces of the ruinous powers. Indeed, the term ‘witch hunter’ has become something of a misnomer considering their foes include not only witches, but also the predations of daemons, cultists, rat men, the various forms of the undead and a thousand other cthonic entities that have risen in the apocalypse.

Neither was it just individual hunters that answered the call in defense of the Mortal Realms, but rather, as the millennia passed, whole family dynasties of hunters came to be. Relying on the foundations of wisdom from their ancestors, certain hunter bloodlines became infamous across all eight realms, each family armed with their own weapons, knowledge and creed. Indeed, each realm can be said to have influenced each family in the ways they wage war against their enemies: those in the realm of Shyish utilise bells, those in the realm of Hysh use mirrors and captured light, those in the realm of Aqshy wield weapons of purified flame, and so on.

Nor is the knowledge base universal amongst the dynasties for each often hold massive libraries filled with unique tomes of lore reflecting their individualistic creeds. For some are more than willing to utilise the blasphemous magicks and weapons of their enemies against them, whilst others are staunchly against such a practice; citing reasons from the robustly pragmatic to the fervently dogmatic. Similarly, not all families are solely devoted to the grace of Sigmar, but will often call upon the forgotten gods of order (and sometimes to other deities or pantheons of a more ambiguous alignment) for aid in their works.

Jovan Voortdurend belongs to a fractured bloodline of what is often referred to by the other dynasties as a “Ragged House of Vagabonds”. Despite his acerbic nature, his tattered demeanor and his ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to his work, he is an incredibly proficient hunter. Armed with a vast pool of knowledge and variety of esoteric weapons, he earns very few friends amongst his peers for his creed, but his results cannot be argued against; even if most say he walks a dark path and is bound to fall off the edge soon enough

Monday, 27 February 2017

John Blanche's Pyratii of the Voodoo Forest - Gunwhayle

So, two months ago, I proposed on the INQ28 Facebook group the idea of doing something artistic in the 40mm scale based perhaps on the popular Femme Militant miniatures. Instead, Mr Blanche commented that perhaps I should look to making something more piratical for his own Voodoo Forest setting.

She was actually finished just over a fortnight ago, but I hadn't gotten around to taking some (rather terrible) photos of her until yesterday. She ended up being quite a few firsts for me (such as her pistol) and in the end she became something of personal vignette of myself. Unintentionally, I might add, although I do worry that my posterior really is that....large.

I called her Gunwhayle, spelled in that typical Blanchean way, for a nautical nod.

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Efrafan Warrior

♫ A long long time ago, I can still remember, when Games Workshop only had five stores ♫

Actually I can't, because this harkens back to the misty age of 1983, some months before I was born when the Manchester store first opened it's doors and they give away this very cute little miniature to celebrate: a unique Broo variant for Runequest.

Photo courtesy of Solegends

Some six years later, being a very precocious child obsessed with mythology (mostly Greek at that point), I was given my first 'choose your own adventure' book entitled; Steeleye and the Lost Magic.

Now this gem of a book was filled with some rather macabre and dark illustrations that may well have sparked my first interest in the larger fantasy genre. However, despite the years that have passed, this particular illustration has stayed with me.

I don't know why this particular illustration stayed with me above all the others in the book, but it's one I have been meaning to emulate in miniature form for a while. After a few false starts a year ago, I put it on the back burner until the DAoS movement started recently and I was inspired to give it another go.

The Efrafan (a name appropriated from Watership Down by Richard Adams) are native to the Realm of Ghur and, as warriors of Order, they are currently embattled in the bitter and protracted Underwarren War against the Skaven.

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Minimalism in AoS28

Okay, so perhaps I should start by explaining a little on what AoS28 is.

Following on from the successes of the INQ28 movement and it's ethos in exploring the darker, forgotten corners of the 41st Millennium and the people who dwell within. AoS28 proposes the same ideals, but naturally, focussing on the Mortal Realms following the cataclysmic events of the Age of Chaos. Inspired by the likes of that which came before (such as Mordheim), AoS28 seeks to move the action away from the frontline 'big battles' and discover what happened to those poor souls that did not have a safe haven in which to wait out the apocalypse. Coupled with the Blanchesque aesthetic that proved very popular in the INQ28 circles, AoS28 attempts to move away from the 'luminescent' vision of the Mortal Realms promoted by Games Workshop and instead delve into a much darker pastiche.

Okay, onto explaining what I mean by 'minimalism'.

Instead of the art/music movement popular in the 20th Century, what I mean by minimalism is rather the characters in the Mortal Realms that represent the 'Man on the Clapham Omnibus'. Now, the Blanchesque aesthetic, especially in miniatures, normally includes loading characters up with all sorts of trinkets, gewgaws, furs and such, treading that fine line between what is artistic and what is overloading. But what about turning that philosophy on it's head?

That is what I mean by minimalism, the dichotomy of the heroic in the simplistic. Compared the grand armies fighting on the front line, in these forgotten corners that the AoS28 ethos espouses, the lowly spearman would become the mightiest of heroes, defending the boarders of their besieged little niche. Essentially, with minimalism, I ask how would I (or anyone living an 'ordinary' life) fare should the forces of Chaos suddenly rampage about my doorstep? What kind of weapons could I find in my own home? What kind of armour, if any?

With minimalism in mind, gone are the mightiest heroes to be replaced by Fred Bloggs armed with a kitchen knife tied to a broom handle. Gone are powerful archmages to be replaced with Jane Doe the hedge witch and her bag of petty magicks.

Just a thought.

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Friday, 3 February 2017


Our hearths are gone out and our hearts are broken,
And but the ghosts of homes to us remain,
And ghastly eyes and hollow sighs give token
From friend to friend of an unspoken pain.
S Lainer - Ancient Terran wordsmith

On a nameless world, far flung from the decaying bosom of the Imperium, the man waited at an ancient wooden escritoire. Hunched over, with frayed quill in wrinkled claw, he scratched out his final repose to the dim light of a single guttering candle. His chamber was small, barely ten paces across each way, with a bare-bones billet alongside one wall and the aforementioned desk with accompanying chair. The open maw of a pipe set into the floor served as his latrine. Piled in one corner, empty and half-empty ration-cans putrefied, adding an underlining tang of rot to the stench of sweated sheets and the stink of his own unwashed body.

The only entrance lay directly behind him; a heavy iron bulkhead, long ago sealed shut with oxidised rust. Many years ago, this had been a safe haven, deep underground and well stocked with provisions and water. He had survived for nearly a decade by carefully portioning, eating a single can but once a week. But now the food had run out, and the thousands of kilo-tonnes of earth and stone above his head had become an oppressive weight.

He had been a large man once. Corpulent, with greasy rolls of flab sagging from a poorly built frame like semi-molten wax. Now he had been reduced to little more than an emaciated skeleton, his formerly opulent robes now rags stained variously in foetid greys and browns from his bodily excretions. It had been a folly to run here, he had realised some years ago when escape had proven impossible, to live but a little longer. This hadn’t been a penance for his crimes, but rather a long, drawn out death sentence that he had imposed upon himself. His safe haven was, in fact, a tomb disguised by his hubris.

His rations had run out a month ago, and after a fortnight, he had taken to consuming his own excrement for sustenance, to eke out a little more string of his miserable existence. But this was not out of desperation to live, but rather spite against those he had wronged. For they did not forgive and they did not forget.

Sickness had already taken root in his veins and he did not have long left in this world, yet his mind was already little more than the tattered remnants of the proud man he was, insanity having taken root some years before his body had started to fail. So now, his final testament was little more than illegible scratches on the labels from his tins, his inkwell long since dried to blackened flakes.

Suddenly, something changed in the aspect of the room, and a familiar, yet dreadful carrion reek, palpable yet subtle, entered his nostrils. He did not need to turn around for he knew what would be waiting behind him.

“So, you have found me at last”, his voice cracked, unused to speaking for such a long time, “come to take my life?”.

Then, just as it had suddenly arrived, the mouldering miasma vanished and the man risked a tentative look over his bony shoulder and took in the absence of the room. Nothing had changed; had he just been speaking to shadows and thin air?

No, he realised in horror, his visitor hadn’t needed to waste any energy to take his life. Better to leave him here to perish in suffering in his own self-imposed tomb amongst the shadows and thin air.

The shadows and thin air.

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Green Fingers and Chainaxes

Carrying on from The Green Death post earlier, I've been beavering away at this little warband for about a week, determined to create a small host of characters that were simple to build with only a little greenstuff intervention.

Black and white photos seem to be en vogue right now

Most of these characters (with the exception of Quayle) have gone through a number of rethinks on particular parts, but I'm rather pleased with how they've turned out (especially the Argyraspides).

Inquisitor Dimmock (name pending) still needs a little work, adding extra trinkets, tokens, gewgaws and fetishes, so I will be rooting through my bits box before painting her.

 The Argyraspides

As I've said, I'm rather pleased with how he eventually turned out, using an old plastic Goliath that I was donated by a friend.


Quayle was actually made for a different project idea I had several months ago, but was discarded. I'm really looking forward to trying out some new painting techniques on him, more specifically, painting his blades to look like pink/yellow coral.

Holy Arborists of the Orders Botanicae

I was drawn to the idea of including a couple of bizarre lumberjack-warrior monks. Indeed there is a rather nice quote in which the term 'lumberjack' is first used:

"my misfortunes have been brought upon me chiefly by an incorrigible, though perhaps useful, race of mortals called LUMBERJACKS, whom, however, I would name the Cossack's of Upper Canada, who, having been reared among the oaks and pines of the wild forest, have never been subjected to the salutary restraint of laws."

Anyway, looking forward to getting these guys painted and maybe even get a game in (if I'm lucky)!

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