book review · miniatures.

Review: Dante – Guy Haley

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As many of you know, I went on holiday, which was an amazing opportunity to relax and read! And read I did! I picked this up due to the portrayal of Dante in Devastation of Baal and wanting to know more. This book did not disappoint. It follows two lines of story – one of child Dante and how he became a Blood Angel, and that of Chapter Master Dante just before the events of Devastation of Baal.

I don’t put spoilers in my reviews because the details of the story are part of the joy of reading. In this story, we are treated to so many anecdotes and memories that have happened during Dante’s long life. One of the funniest was how he got into trouble when he was a scout the first time he saw rain. It is an act we can all relate to – looking up and trying to catch it with your mouth is something I think we have all done – and it shows Dante as attached to his humanity more than other Space Marines. This is just one such tale in a book filled with them.

The side characters are not neglected in the tale either. We all know that Dante goes on to become a Blood Angel, so that is no mystery to the reader, however it does not make the tale redundant. The journey is filled with characters who are interesting and their stories are just as good. None of them feel flat or as though they are there to just pad out Dante’s story. They are individual and worth reading about too! One of them had me in tears of sorrow – a difficult feat to acomplish so well done!

Guy Haley’s use of language in this novel is great too. None of the book feels like redundent description, it is all relevent and none of it is too floral or poetic. Meaning is clear and well thought out. I read this book in less than two days, which is really quick for me.

The short part is that this book made me fall in love with Dante, it is worth reading, full of emotion and just all round fabulous! Go read this!

book review · miniatures.

Review: The Dark Tower series.

I have had a long and lasting love affair with The Dark Tower series; it is one of the novel series that has resonated with me, and still does so. When I first read it about ten years ago, I was captivated by the characters and world setting, and that hasn’t changed. Periodically, I have gone back and read the first three and a half books, but usually stopped part way through the fourth. Now that I listen to audio books while painting, I found the perfect opportunity to listen to the whole tale again.

Let’s get a picture of The Gunslinger in here, for it is his story after all:

Good points of the story the second time around include how amazingly well written the characters are. From the smallest role to the largest, all the characters have a surprisingly well developed sense of purpose and self. I remember taking nearly three books to decide whether I liked Roland and that when I did, it was a whirlwind. The same applies on the second reading, though perhaps not as intensely. The pace of the first four books is intense and keeps you reading, or listening, even when you know what is going to happen.

What surprised me too is the amount of phrases I use in day to day language that come from this series. Language I had forgotten the source of, phrases like ‘never in life’ and ‘say true?’ just became part of my language. It has a poetic ring to it certainly, and the different accents and nuances contained within the Dark Tower are wide and varied. The world setting is dense, detailed and wide, it is a real treat to read about and journey through. Nothing in this story is coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and the smallest detail in book one unfolds into a big part of the later story. The forward thinking of the author is incredible.

I’m still not sold on Stephen King writing himself into the story.

Everything else about the tale is great, I laughed, I cried and was taken along an emotional journey with the characters; still caught up in their lives despite knowing what happened. If you only ever read one (set of) books again, make it The Dark Tower!

40K · Age of Sigmar · miniatures.

Open Day: January 2020

I love going to Warhammer World, it has a really nice atmosphere and some great sights to see. The shops are always good to look around as well and Bugman’s Bar is good for food and relaxing. I love going on the open days too, because you get all of that, new releases and the chance to speak to the studio teams as well. I always come away feeling enthusiastic about new projects and with a buzz that lasts.

Today was the New Year Open Day and there were loads of new things to see! I have taken a wealth of pictures, as always so I will put these here first and then talk about them!

I saw a lot of amazing things today. I loved the new deredeo with the uber weapons load-out. I do have a soft spot for them though. I saw new Blood ANgel miniatures, which were cool. The Warcry Beasts were amazing. The new Tau lady was neat as well, though I am not a fan of them they looked good none the less.

The Exocrine is perhaps one of my all time favourites, because it has a silly grin on its face. How can I take it seriously with a smile like that??

I got to see a wicked diorama of Tzeentch creatures fighting the Dwarven Arkanauts, which was amazing. I love dioramas and made sure I took loads of pictures so I can use them as reference for my own work.

I also bought some cool stuff:

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Personal projects this year will mostly include Blood Angels and Ioneth Deepkin, and reading.

40K · miniatures.

Abaddon the Despoiler!!

I finished him! And in time as well. Not only that, but I have a day or so spare so I can go back and tweak here and there if I want to.

I have learned so much from painting this miniature. It is my first real attempt at non-metallic metals, the finest lines on a cloak I have ever done and the first time using layering rather than wet blending.

I am so pleased with how he turned out; it is by far the best miniature I have ever painted (so far) and I really do feel as though I have ‘levelled up’ my painting skills. I just hope he does well at Everchosen on Saturday.

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I already know there are things I can improve, but for now, I am going to revel in the achievement I have made here and enjoy it.

Wish me luck for Saturday!!

book review · miniatures.

Book Review: Blood Reaver – Aaron Dembski Bowden.

Blood ReaverBlood Reaver is part two of the Night Lords Trilogy, and it has taken me longer to read that I wanted it to. This is not because of the book being terrible, but because of my own time constraints.

I was more than happy to pick up the tale of Talos and ‘friends’ once more and find out about there misadventures. This time, they found themselves at the dubious mercy of Huron Blackheart and his cronies. I am not going into detail about the story itself because I want you to go and read it for yourselves. You should do so, and here is why.

Characters! In this novel there are some fresh, new character to get your teeth into and some old flames back to haunt us. Talos, First Claw and the rest of the Night Lords from the first book are back and in full flow. Bickering and sniping at one another to the point of becoming murderous continues to thrill the reader, but leaves enough room for empathy. Even the character of the Exalted – or Vandred as he was formerly known prior to his possession – offers some choice moments within the story. Added to the violent mix is Variel, an apothecary who belongs to the Red Corsairs, also known as The Flayer, is a new face who is chillingly great. His cold, ruthless and detatched demeanour only adds to the story and the role he plays leaves the reader guessing to the very end.

Alongside the Space Marines is the mortal crew. The new additions are a brilliant foil for those that already exist and the development of the interwoven relationships between them all is well written and feels natural, rather than forced.

As always, ADB’s writing is a delight to read. I am not usually a fan of reading void combat, however the end of this novel, which featured such had me gripped and reading until the small hours just to find out what happened and who survived. Those that did not survive had my eyes prickling. That I was able to connect to the humblest of characters within the novel says a great deal about how the book is put together. The action pacing is perfect, making me need to know what happened.

Go and read this novel, it is a whirlwind and worthy of your time!

figures · hobby · miniatures.

What’s on the table?

I have a few projects I want to wrok on over the next week or so and I thought I would lay them out here so I have a bit of focus and a list to wrok through.

Nagash:

Not new Nagash, I love that mini and have it in a box somewhere, but I have always wanted the old Nagash. My first ever miniatures were undead, in about 1997, but I never had the opportunity to have old Nagash. So when I was presented with him, I was thrilled. He does however need some work:

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His base, and he, will be stripped, reassembled and completely redone – watch this space for this project!

The Warpsmith:

This was a give away prize I did ages ago that I really need to just get on with – I want to start him today.

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Mephiston:

This is a present for a friend’s birthday. I want to get him done this weekend at least.

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The Stormcast:

This is the other half of Soul Wars and shall be painted for sale. I am not enthused by the miniatures as yet, but I am sure I will find passion for them by the end. I do not think they will be as thrilling as the Night Haunts, but that might be because I love undead things.

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The Warp Talons:

I have no idea what to do with these miniatures as yet. I picked them up at the Warboot for a very good price. I have no idea whether to make them Night Lords, or Black Legion, or what I am going to do with them.

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And then there are other projects I hvae that need to be finished off, like my Kill Team, the Mini Reaver’s base and maybe even assembling some of the other miniatures that I have kicking about.

Either way, I certainly have a lot to be getting on with!

40K · fine detail · miniatures. · painting

Mini Reaver and the Freehand Venture

The only thing I have freehanded in the last couple of years is the galaxy cloaks a lot of people know me for. I wanted to try my hand at it and seeing how I decided to put the flat panels on the Adeptus Titanicus Reaver, I thought I would give it a go.

Now, the Legio that Twitter voted on was Legio Mortis, so I had a look at the heraldry, cursed at the complexity of it and rolled up my sleeves.

I started by sketching the image out on the panel with a pencil very lighty. At this point, the princeps of the Reaver was asking, ‘Why can I see graphite.’

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I then took a deep breath and got stuck in. I started off by filling in the black for the eyes and nose, as this seemed a good base. Next came the skull. I have been asked about painting bone and so shall be doing a tutorial on that next week. It is a combination of five colours and a lot of wet blending to make sure there are no glaring blend lines.

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Next came the bars around the skull. I used Eshin grey as the base and then added black or white depending on which tone I was after. I then blended them together to create shadows and light and this is the result.

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So, what do I think.

The cranium of the skull is a little too big, I think the teeth on the skull are a bit too stark and I know some of the grey rods are wonky.

Otherwise, I think I did alright in the end. Not bad for a first attempt in a couple of years. I will be doing similar again in the near future, got to keep practicing!