wine making

Another type of hobby…

During the week, it occurred to me that most of my time and headspace is taken up by painting, selling, reading and writing about miniatures in one form or another. I love what I do, it’s amazing fun and hasn’t felt like work at all. However I feel I want to do some thing that isn’t miniature related. Before I started teaching, way back in the dark ages, I brewed wine from fruit, I remember this being a lot of fun to do and the result was interesting. Previously, I made banana wine, and apple and raisin.

In the back garden, there are several large bramble briars. These have produced a good number of fruit. Seeing these, and finding most of the gear in the shed, sparked me into trying it all over again. I know that there will not be enough to fulfil the recipe requirements, but I knew where some other bushes were, so off I went to pilfer a load. I now have more than enough to make a gallon of wine.

My next task will be to clean them all and sterilise all the gear so it’s ready to turn the fruit and sugar into glorious booze. The books I am using were own by my nan and grandad, and I have fond memories of helping my grandad pick fruit and prepare it with him as a child, specifically elderberries. Maybe I will find some of those to do as well. It’s good to have a variety of things to do, and this will be good.


The Headnought

I think this is perhaps the stupidest miniature I own. He came with a bunch of second hand Ultramarines I bought a long time ago. One thing I do know is that it has endured a lot of mocking. A dreadnought with a head seems to me a daft concept and whomever made him was either a genius, or had taken some substance and gone mad.

I have however, become quite fond of the damned thing and so have decided to make it some sort of mascot. I touched up the paint on him, picking out some details and giving him some highlights. I’ve also added some more texture paint to his base and painted the rim. He will remind me that not everything isn’t he Grimdark universe has to be serious, and there are no limits. If you want a dreadnought with a head, why not?

All he needs now is a name…

40K · hobby · Uncategorized

Hobby Update!

I have been out of teaching for a few weeks now and after the initial amazement of having visitors and catching up with my sleep, I have begun to turn my thoughts to what I am going to do next.

It’s not an easy thing, my focus was teaching for at least seven years and had always floated in the back of my mind. I’ve been in some sort of limbo, which has been strange. Fortunately, I have the support and encouragement of good friends around me who have helped keep my head clear.

What I truly want to do, is commission paint miniatures. I have a few avenues to explore to make this happen and I am in the process of doing so. One of them is streaming on Twitch. I plan to make this happen a few times a week after the success of the Paint-a-thon. Other plans will be announced when there are more solid details to announce.

If you are interested in commmissioning me, here is the link. Feel free to get in touch.

Other hobby news:

The diorama is not going to get finished in time, to the standard I want it to be done, before Golden Demon on Sunday. I have decided to keep working on it but it won’t be entered this time around. I will not be participating this time, however I will enter it into the next contest, should I be able to do so.

And so, my next major task is Sevatar. I have great plans for him, great ones indeed. No spoilers, this contest is all hush. I don’t want to give away any advantage after all – this is a high pressure contest.

I have a warp smith to paint for someone who won it a month or so ago.

I have also been asked to paint the Master of Possession in the Black Legion colours.

There is no shortage of tasks to keep me going, I just hope that everything I want works out. It won’t be for lack of trying, that much is certain.


40K · Golden Demon · hobby · painting · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Diorama Update: The Plague Marine

I only have one Space Marine left to paint for this diorama now and that is the Khorne Berserker. He needs to be assembled after the Trigon and tank so I know what he is going to look like a bit better.

Today then, I painted the Plague Marine. I rather like Plague Marines, I feel they have an individual flavour to them. I had picked out an old metal one to use, however when he was next to the other marines, he looked too small, so I changed my mind and went for this one instead:

I liked his pose, it will look as though he is going to blast some Hormagaunt to pieces, which is his job! He will need final touch ups and adjustments here and there but for now, he is done.

I have also done some experimenting on the base in regards to texture. More on that soon, when the base itself is all done. I might make that one a tutorial, as it has been a real learning curve for me too.

40K · hobby · Wh40K

Time for a Change.

Usually, I keep this blog for my hobby related exploits, but I feel I need to speak about the largest change I have made in my life and the uncertainty that brings. As many of you are aware, I have been in the teaching profession in one way or another for the last seven years. It had been a rollercoaster and I hace decided, for health reasons, that it is time to step off and do something else.

The last week has been difficult for a number of reasons. The class I have taught this year have been th best set of children I have ever had and I will miss them. I know they will miss me too.

One of the hardest parts was Tuesday, when it was the last Warhammer Club. The children were confident enough to run their own game, using the miniatures they had bought and painted themselves. I spent the hour showing those that were not playing how I would go about painting one of the ghouls a member had brought in.

I introduced wet blending and some drybrushing before leaving the little guy on my desktop to dry. Bob was concerned about this intruder but thankfully, there was no trouble…

I also let the children take the miniatures home and I certainly hope they continue with the hobby. They certainly seemed interested in it and it had been a true honour to show them how much fun miniature gaming is.

The rest of the week was a mix of fun. On the last day, we watched Disney’s Robin Hood, had a Just Dance contest and played a lot of games. I was thoroughly spoilt and saddened to see the children go. I shall miss collegues and have made some great friends as well. I have packed away the post it note pictures, brought my miniatures home and managed to relax a little too.

There is one thing on my mind at the moment however, and that is ‘What now?’ Education had been the centre of my life for seven years and now I am left wondering what to do. I am fortunate enough to not need to find work immediately, however that is not indefinite. I know something will come along when it is ready and I will find work, until then, I am going to try and take some commissions and spend some time in the hobby room painting.

Incidentally, if you are interested in commissioning me for painting, here is a link to the information you need:

40K · Uncategorized · Wh40K

Hobby Heroes

I changed the name of the weekly feature to Hobby Heroes as I thought this was more fitting. You are all my hero and keep me inspired, if I can pass that on to others, then so much the better. This week’s Hero is Bees:

Tell us a bit about yourself. You don’t have to include your actual name and location, but a rough area would be amazing.

I’m Jennie, often known as Bees. By day I am a mild mannered software engineer, but at night I terrorise the Imperium of Man with my army of grotesquely decaying super soldiers.
I live in the UK, near Cambridge, with my partner, my dog Fox, my chinchillas Chong, Big Boss and Snake, my turtles, Leonardo and Raphael and my python Fulgrim. I can mostly be found painting little plastic men, or reading about them.

How did you get into the hobby?

My partner wanted to share his love of the hobby with me and wanted someone to play with. About 16 years ago he told me the story of the Horus Heresy and I fell in love with the universe. I started off playing Necrons and my first game was in my university house. We borrowed another table from next door and played in the kitchen. I can’t remember what the scenery was, but one of the guys I played with used a loaf of bread as a Landraider and a tin of beans as a Drop Pod. If that’s not enough to get you hooked, I don’t know what is.

What is your favourite aspect of the hobby and why?

I love kitbashing and building models just a little bit more than I love painting. I love having a vision in my head of what I want to make and seeing it come to life. And also when you root through your bits box and find something amazing and you hold it up to the model and it just works perfectly.
But really the hobby is so wonderful because it has so many aspects and they’re all supported so well. Seeing an army you have created out on the tabletop and playing with them. Creating scenarios based around the lore you’ve read. Having fun with your friends and making new ones. It’s like a big cauldron that’s made better by every ingredient you add, and can always be improved by adding a nurgling.

Which is the best faction, in your opinion?

Death Guard.
I love the way they play, I love the new models, I love painting them and I love their lore.

Has the hobby helped you develop as an individual? How has it done so?

 It’s been a great creative outlet and helped me make some amazing friends. I’ve really started to push myself in terms of painting lately and it’s been a real boost to my self confidence to see how much progress I’ve made.

Have you any pictures you can share? This can be miniatures, of playing, artwork or anything else that is relevant.

Daemon Prince of Nurgle (Farty McFly):
This is mostly Death Guard…

What, in your opinion, is the greatest strength of the hobby at the moment?

The rules. Both 40k and Age of Sigmar, the two wargames I play the most, have absolutely fantastic rules at the moment. But then all the new kits are fantastic too… And Kill Team… and the community…

What would you like to see in the future?

More primarchs on the tabletop. And more Death Guard Black Library books.
40K · Uncategorized

Wicked Wednesday – 1

After the massively positive and popular response I got the other day around my poll for featuring hobbyists and other animals here, I am pleased to introduce the first one. Here are the thoughts of ‘Captain Nice Guy’ himself:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I go by Pandora’s Bitz Box throughout the various online communities I’m a part of, and I live in a small city called Hereford in England.

How did you get into the hobby?

There have always been board games at home, I have brother that’s 5 years older than me and we played a lot of the games together (even if I didn’t really know what was happening a lot of the time while I was young). I remember playing a lot of games that had miniatures like Hero Quest and Space Crusade, but also looking through brochures for new minis for Advanced Hero Quest. I properly started to dip my toe into table top wargaming when I was about 11 or 12, when I started playing Warhammer Fantasy with a couple of friends. I played that for maybe 5 years or something, but at some point we stopped (I cant remember why) and by the time I tried to find my minis again they had sadly vanished. Then when I was in college I was walking past Games Workshop in Cardiff and my friend said “oh I used to play that, Warhammer 40,000…”, I told him I used to play Fantasy.  We went in, played an intro Game of Battle of Macragge, and then left with the starter set and a starter army box each, I bought Tyranids.  Its been over 15 years since then… now I’m up to about 11 factions of 40k of various sizes, I have about 8000 points of Tyranids now.

What is your favourite aspect of the hobby and why?

This is easy, its the social aspect. I obviously wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t have people to play but I also wouldn’t bother painting the minis either. I don’t derive a enough personal achievement working on these things to do it for myself, I really enjoy the engagement with others. Until relatively recently this was limited to my small circle of friends that play, but about a year ago myself and a couple of friends started a blog together.  We were getting frustrated by the lack of hobby feedback we got from our own circle of friends in a chat app we use to keep in touch. It felt like the same few people were answering all the time, so we decided to combine our efforts and see if anyone in the aether of the internet would be interested in giving us feedback on our minis.

After we started the Krakendoomcool WordPress blog I decided to promote it on the forum Bolter and Chainsword and on Twitter. So I just started to involve myself in those communities. Suddenly I was immersing myself in these communities I didn’t know about and the really breathed a new lease of life into my hobby. 

So in a way I feel like I’ve “got into the hobby” about 3 times… so far.

Which is the best faction, in your opinion?

Yikes… This feels like a can of worms waiting to be opened, after all “favourite” and “best” are two very different things! I honestly cant make a meaningful choice as I like them all for different reason. I think one of the things that Games Workshop has done so well over the years has created (or borrowed) so many interesting concepts and put them together. It was something I appreciated in the Dawn of War game too, each faction played quite differently but had a really decent balance between them. Not to mention the really rich lore to each too, even the younger additions. If I was pushed on it though… Probably Tyranids. That’s at a push though, I could easily argue against it. When I was a kid I never drew people, it was always robots, aliens and monsters. Things that were as far from people as possible… so in 40k, that would be marines, they are the faction that appeals to me the least. Certainly the vanilla codex anyway. Another thing going for Tyranids is that I like nature and they are basically animals, like super scary space locusts… and arguably the least morally corrupt race, as their motive is plain and simple, indiscriminate consumption of all organic matter. Not evil… just dangerous.

Has the hobby helped you develop as an individual? How has it done so?

When first read this my initial thought was no… after all I’m 36 and I have done a whole lot of developing in that time, none of it hobby related. Then I started to think about the last 6 months though.  It may seem like a minor thing, but since getting more involved in the community I have noticed myself pushing to do some more things/trying harder in my hobby where previously I wouldn’t have considered it. So, putting myself out there more… offering my opinion, saying yes to things like this, or even pod cast interviews, painting for a Golden Demon competition, even considered taking part in a friendly (non GT) tournament. While it’s very hobby centric, I think this is a development of my confidence in how I present myself socially.

Oh Also I have plans to do some charity stuff, using the hobby as a avenue for it.  I didn’t realise quite how strongly I felt about inequality and mental health awareness until I kept seeing things come up about it and I never thought that this is something I would want to do. I have been planning some stuff though, short term and long term.

Have you any pictures you can share? This can be miniatures, of playing, artwork or anything else that is relevant.

Details on this beautiful creature found here!

What, in your opinion, is the greatest strength of the hobby at the moment?

The community, without a doubt. I could go on about all of the awesome overhauls that Games Workshop have done with their new management in place… but the best part of what they are now is their Community team, which would not exist without the Hobby Community itself. Its supportive, helpful, inspiring, not just specifically regarding hobby either. The community is so full of great people that I have seen people doing charity work helping those out with other aspects of their lives and just being great examples of people in general.

What would you like to see in the future?

New factions are always nice, but i’m not holding my breath.

Anything else you would like to say?

Thanks for giving me the chance to contribute to your blog!  I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s interviews.