Tuesday 28 December 2021

More Ion Age Beotan Werewolves

I made an order from Alternative Armies a few months ago and realised that I still had my old "Ion Age" points saved up.  I really liked the Beotan werewolves I got last year, so I used the points to add a few more.

More werewolves!

2 of the wolves were duplicates (1st & 3rd from left above), but the other 3 were new poses.  All were painted in the same colour scheme as the original 5.  To start with, I added a further heavy weapon trooper.  I particularly liked this pose, it reminds me of my favourite Space Marine heavy weapon trooper from the 1989 Citadel catalogue.  

Heavy weapon support.

Rear view.

When I was at University in Nottingham in the late 1990's I paid a visit to GW to get a few figures specially cast and this HW trooper was one of them.  He got equipped with a Heavy Bolter as part of my devastator squad.

Favourite heavy weapon marine.

Another Maia machine pistol adds to the rank and file troops.  He's a suitable aggressive looking beast.

Fierce creature.


 The commander has a nifty visor and a nice cloak to matk out his importance to enemy snipers.  I thought that a blue cloak would contrast well with the paler, earthier colours of the fur and harness.


Given the rough appearance of the cloak, rather than keeping it crisp and clean, I used a bit of earthy colour around the bottom edge.

Nice cloak!

This gives me a pack of 10 werewolves, a wider choice for Rogue Stars but also enough for a pack of ferals in 5 Parsecs from home.  They'll also be useful as extra tough troops for Tomorrow's War.

10 werewolves.

Friday 24 December 2021


One of the 3D printed models I really like is this little 15mm service robot by the talented Mr Dutchmogul.  I've ended up with a few of them painted to match various different settings.  The first few received a basic metallic finish, they'll act as loading robots in a space station hangar or something similar.

Basic metal finish.

 Something that I've quickly discovered is that I need to change my painting style slightly for these 3D printed models.  Previously, a base coat, shading wash and highlight produced a fairly good result quickly and easily.  This tends to emphasise the print lines though, so hand painting a base layer, shading and highlights produces a better result, and doesn't take much longer.

One droid has a colour scheme to tie in with my Rogue Stars crew.

I wanted a robot to add to my Rogue Stars crew and one of these fits in nicely when painted in the pale khaki/bone colour scheme to match the others.  As you can see, the size is just right as designed, though it would be easy to scale it up or down if desired.

Rear view of the Rogue Stars robot.

Of the final pair of robots I've finished so far, one is a bit grubby and battered, with chipped paintwork and various stains.  The other is inspired by the green/tan/red colour scheme on a protocol droid in the Star Wars Rebels TV series.  This last one could have been a bit tidier but it's table-ready at least.

A rather battered robot, plus one inspired by Rebels.

Inspired by Star Wars Rebels protocol droid

Inspired by Star Wars Rebels protocol droid

I do have one or two more of these robots awaiting finishing touches, plus some other larger robots too.

Saturday 4 December 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: Shuttle (or Thunderbird 4)

The new Thunderbids are Go TV series is absolutely fantastic and Number 1 son and I (and Mummy too) really enjoyed it.  Before he had even started watching it I grabbed a Thunderbird 2 from Argos at only £11 which was something like 60% or more off the normal price.  It comes (as do almost all Thunderbird 2s) with a Thunderbird 4 submarine which I thought would make an ideal shuttlecraft.

Fear not, I did not swipe my child's Thunderbird 4, no, instead we found another T2 cheap on eBay ffom which we could use the pod for his pod vehicles set, the main craft as a wrecked dropship, and the T4 as my shuttle.

Thunderbird 4 with GZG tech for scale.

 I'll be printing s boarding ramp and some legs for it at some point and it'll make a nice little bit of scenery

Friday 3 December 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: 15mm scenery from Hirst Arts blocks

One box of scenery in the loft included some of the 15mm buildings I constructed from Hirst Arts blocks.  Although designed for 28mm figures, I found that turned sideways, the blocks worked very well with 15mm figures.  All were glued with PVA to MDF bases.  I need to build a roof for this power/machinery room but the inside looks pretty good I think.

Power/machinery building

There is a small control room at one end of the building.  Now I have some 3d printed furniture I'll have to use it for a photoshoot with some figures.

Control room

The base is MDF with some fabric embroidery mesh glued down as industrial mesh flooring.

Power/machinery room

I also build a generator, not quite up to Echo Base standards but it gets the job done.


I originally planned to build a series of interconnecting rooms, some of which would be raised on supports.  One would have been a control centre for the complex.

View into the raised room

There would have been spave for small vehicles to park underneath.

Raised room

Support for the raised room

I built another generator which was painted in a more rusty colour scheme - obviously less well-cared for than the bigger generator.

Small generator

It's small enough to fit inside some of the buildings.

Small generator inside building

I was very pleased with the workshop/store building.  As well as the main room, there is a small office and an airlock style smaller entrance to the side.

Workshop/storage building

The top of each doorway lifts off so you can decide whether you want the doorway open or closed.

Door detail

Long-time readers of this blog may recognise the building from some of my older posts...

Thursday 2 December 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: Lots of aeroplanes.

One small and rather heavy box from the loft contains my collection of Matchbox aircraft that will be repainted for use as airfield set dressing for some of my 1980's set Action Force games.

Vought Corsairs - A7D?

My collection of Corsairs is a little battered, a few have rather bent wings and most are missong cockpit canopies.

"Subsonic Interceptor"

The Subsonic Interceptor will be a top secret prototype that needs to be photographed/stolen/destroyed in a black ops type mission.

Little Cessnas I think?

These little 'planes will be handy set dressing on a small airfield in a South American dictatorship...

F104 Starfighters

F-104s feature in the Z-Force story "Desert Strike".

A4 Skyhawks

Skyhawks would be useful if I wanted to do a Falklands style game.

Mirage F1s

Mirages also feature in the Z Force Desert Strike story.

MiG 21s

A few MiGs will be useful for any game involving USSR supported governments.


Not sure how the Alphajets will fit in but I'm sure I'll find a use.

F4 Phantoms
Phantoms appear in an SAS Force story.  You can see that I started repainting one but when I masked off the wings to spray the white panels, something went wrong and it'll need to be repainted from scratch.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: Ramjack APCs

My Epic Imperial Guard had only 3 Chimera APCs for transport, woefully inaquate for 300+ people.  I had looked at Chimeras on eBay but they were prohibitively expensive, usually working out £3-4 per vehicle from those I failed to win.  Enter the Ramjack APC from Dark Realm, these looked like they'd make suitable stand-ins, presumably pressed into service from a local source.

The Ramjack is an 8-wheeled APC armed with what looks like a cupola mounted heavy bolter, so more lightly armed than a Chimera.  I modified all the vehicles by adding litle bits of stowage in the form of plasticard scraps (becoming stowage boxes, applique armour etc) and Milliput (bedding rolls, tarpaulins etc).

 These turned out nicely and I have a total of 12 which will enable me to transport a sizeable part of my force.  Now that I have a 3d printer, I can produce my own Chimeras but these filled the gap very nicely and are wonderful little sculpts.  The 8 wheeled chassis comes separate from the hull which allows for a nice amount of detail on the model but they're very easy to put together.  They currently seem to be out of production but hopefully they might appear again some time.

Monday 29 November 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: Mighty Empires!

Next from the loft we have the Games Workshop big box game Mighty Empires, originally designed as a campaign system for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but also playable as a game in its own right.  2 of my friends had copies of the game and I was fortunate to be able to acquire both from them for the original purchase price of £25 each.  Mind you, we are talking a quarter of a century ago...

A section of Albrecht Altdorfer's "Battle of Issus"

Mighty Empires is unusual in having a box lid decorated with historical art rather than a painting by one of the usual GW cover artists.  The 1529 painting by Albrecht Altdorfer shows Alexander the Great defeating Darius III of Persia in 333BC.

Box 1 - map pieces, dragons etc.

The first of my boxes contains the map tiles (I used to spend hours arranging and re-arranging these to create marvellous maps), a tub of dragons, some gold coins I bought to hand out to players as something more tactile than just scribbling down how many "gold crowns" you received in revenue at the end of each campaign turn.  The small tubs contain some of the game counters.  There's also that Kryomek plastic blister pack, but more on that in a moment...

Box 2 - counters, armies, settlements

The second box contains all the plastic fortresses, cities and villages that go on the map, also the banners (i.e. troop counters) and lots more counters.  I made a North marker hex that could be added to the map if desired.

Rules and maps.

The rules have been hole punched and popped in a binder along with all the extra rules they published in White Dwarf.  There is also a punched pocket containing some old campaign maps.

A map.

I fondly remember the campaigns played against my friend Matthew who lived over the road, we'd set up a map on a coffee table in my room and play over the course of 3 or 4 days, maybe 20 years of actual game time.  After setting up the map and choosing your starting locations, each player had 6 turns (each representing 1 month) to explore the map.  An unexplored tile would need to be scouted before you could move into it, 2D6 would be rolled to determing whether it contained a village, fortress, city, or was barren.  Different tables were used depending upon whether it was a river valley, highlands or plains.  Rolling doubles when scouting meant you'd discovered an independent settlement. After the campaign season, you'd tot up how much revenue in gold crowns you recevived from your various settlements (1 for a village of fortress, 2 for a city, +1 for each ship if you had a port), then spend the revenue on improving settlements (building fortresses or cities, bridges, ships), recruiting troops, buying supplies for them.  Wizards in your realm might also cast some spells.

Another map.

We must have managed 4 or 5 big games over a couple of years.  Using 2 sets of the game made the campaigns suitably epic and far-reaching.

Undaed - yay!

Now we return to that Kromek packet.  One of the sets of Mighty Empires included several of the add-on sets of metal miniatures produced for the game, including pirate ships, wizards' towers, bridges and the undead.  Ah yes, the undead.  All our games would feature the Necropolis somewhere near the border between our two realms.

Undead army banner.

The skeleton army banners are really nice, lots of detail that rewards the quick ink-wash-and-drybrush method of painting.

Dare you enter the Necropolis?  Of course!

The Necropolis is a lovely piece of scenery too, suitably forebidding.  I like the fact that the back has a slightly different design.  Investigating the Necropolis could have all sorts of results, you might find a rich tomb and gain some extra gold crowns, or perhaps some of your army would become terrified and desert.  If you were really unlucky, you'd accidentally disturb the Necromancer who would ride forth with his great undead horde and raze the surrounding area.  Happy days!

Necropolis from the back.

Now that I have a 3d printer, I intend to add some extra pieces of scenery in due course, a mine, some temples, perhaps a great wall...

Sunday 28 November 2021

The Great Rationalisation of '21: Epic Battles

I started playing roleplaying and wargames in the late 1980's - the "Golden Age" of Games Workshop to many, the time of WH40K: Rogue Trader first edition, WFB 3rd Edition, WFRP, Realm of Chaos and the Big Box Games.

Yes, the Big Box Games... I had a lot of them: Space Hulk; Mighty Empires; Advanced Heroquest; Space Marine; Adeptus Titanicus.  I'll focus on the latter 2 today.

I started buying White Dwarf magazine with issue 113.  There were regular articles with rules expansions for many of the games in every issue.  Epic started with Adeptus Titanicus, White Dwarf articles added rules for infantry (Space Marines and Imperial Guards) and armoured vehicles, Dreadnoughts, Robots and more.  Space Marine arrived soon after, and White Dwarf ran a competition to win a copy of the game or a £5 voucher off the price, I won a voucher and eagerly rushed to our local independent games shop Truro Micro to nab my copy.

The voucher got me 25% off the £20 price tag for my box of 16 Land Raiders, 32 Rhinos, 320 Marines plus a small cityscape of car and plastic buildings.  A few months later, I added Adeptus Titanicus with its 6 mighty Warlord Titans and some marvellous polystyrene buildings to fight amongst.

My sorting in the loft included checking the current contents of my boxes, I've acquired extra copies of SM and AT over the years and I wasn't sure which boxes were which.  The original boxes contain only part of the games now, the painted vehicles being stored more safely in multi-compartment plastic hobby boxes.

As an aside, the cover of the Space Marine box is the point at which the Dark Angel Space Marines changed from black armour to dark green armour.  Apparently the box lid was supposed to depict the Salamanders chapter but owing to confusion somewhere along the line they ended up with the Dark Angel insignia.  Despite the fact that there was were already multiple colour references to the Dark Angels having black armour (40K Space Marines box, Rogue Trader, 40K Compendium, Space Hulk supplement Deathwing to name a few), the decision was obviously made that the new colour scheme would stick instead.

My original Space Marine box now contains a hugely expanded city comprising 3 complete sets of buildings.  I have a fourth set too, which is in a CityTech box and gets used with BattleTech games instead.  I like the design of these buildings, the Space Marine rulebook detailed all the different building types which added nothing to the game in terms of rules but did let you try your city planning skills (no, the generatorium wouldn't be sited by the residential buildings, but is next to the administratum really the correct place either...?).  The buildings were ideally scaled for infantry and armour battles.  You didn't need huge structures like those in AT, these smaller buildings allowed you to create a more maze-like set of streets with plenty of cover but not so tall that they made it awkward to reach into the gaps to move your models around.

You can see from the cover of Adeptus Titanicus that the original Titans weren't really 1/300 scale, more like 1/900 or 1/1000 (so infantry abotu 2mm tall or smaller). There are teeny tiny marines milling around the feet of those Titans!

The AT box contains an odd assortment.  I have the cover of the Codex Titanicus rules expansion which introduced Orks, Eldar plus a whole load of new vehicles including the Thunderbolt dropship, plus revised rules for Dreadnoughts, Robots and a whole range of support weapons/vehicles (Rapier, Tarantula, Landspeeder etc).  The actual rules from this supplement are elsewhere, they came loose-leaf in the card cover ready for insertion into a ring binder.  Most of the bog box games had a rulebook designed to be cut apart, punched and inserted into a binder to allow expansions to be added. As well as scenery, blast templates, counters and the like, the cardboard parts sheets usually included a long rectangular strip showing the game's name.  It was years before I realised that these were designed to slip into the spine of a ring binder to help identify its contents!

Some of my epic Chaos forced were lurking within the box, a Bloodthirster and some Bloodletters, plus theres a few Chaos Marines and some Squats in there too.

I also have some papercraft scenery and a load of counters from different versions of the game.  That white and yellow counter peeping from underneath is a felt-tip coloured photcopy of a traitor Imperial Guard infantry stand from the White Dwarf infantry rules for Adeptus Titanicus.

Last of all is my Bendicks Victoria Orange chocolates box containing the unit datacards from Space Marine.  Each unit had its own card, for the original game this included Tactical, Assault, Devastator and Support infantry stands plus Land Raiders, Rhinos and Whirlwinds.  There was a full set of each for both the Loyalist and Traitor players.  White Dwarf soon added extra that you could cut out and stick to a cereal packet: Predator, Bike, Rapier, Tarantula, Mole mortar, Thudd gun, Landspeeder. The next release of vehicles changed to a different style and introduced some additional heavy vehicles such as the Falchion and Glaive superheavy tanks (later renamed Shadowsword and Baneblade and then the names were ret-conned back into 30K/40K history as different vehicles), Basilisk (carrying a macro-cannon in this early version) and Manticore (2 x multi-launchers) self-propelled artillery and more.  A third design of datacard followed, revising some of those already created and adding in extra vehicles (Leman Russ, Eldar Tempest heavy grav tank, Ork battle fortress).  They soon realised that having a datacard for every vehicle would make it very difficult to run the game and wisely switched to tables of vehicles instead!

Some of my future posts will look at the other big box games Space Hulk and Mighty Empires. There is also the question of all the vehicles and infantry from those Epic games...