So, I’ve been a bit quiet this week, keeping to myself and getting on with my own miniatures. I’ve been painting some Death Company Marines to go with my other Blood Angels, affectionately known as The Crayon Eaters:
I have two more of them to go and they are waiting for me on the hobby table for the next session. I have really enjouyed taking my time with them and focusing on the highlights. They are not perfect but they are mine and I am proud of them.
The next thing I wanted to mention was a project my sister and I have started working on together. It order to distract ourselves from the current climate, we have decided to work on a science fiction setting. It involves the crew of a star cruiser – the Trailblazer, being hurled through space into regions unknown. It is still very early in the project and we’re doing it for the fun more than anything else. If you want to look at our workings and progress – short stories, drawings, profiles and more creative ideas, here is the link:
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!
It’s been a while since I have done a book review, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I have indulged in a lot of short stories, which would take forever to review them all. It doesn’t mean they are not good, or engaging and they certainly are worth reading however I would be here forever if I posted about them all.
One group of short stories has led me down a rather delightful path, and those feature the oddity that is Mephiston. Recommended by a close friend, I decided that it was time to venture out if the realms of chaos and see what the Imperium had to offer. I must say I was very well surprised with the two short stories: Eclipse of Hope and Lord of Death by David Annandale, however the character really comes into his own when penned by the capable hand of Darius Hinks.
Technically, the language is beautiful. While reading, there were no clumsy sentences, wonderfully crafted metaphors which were wrought in a careful, considerate way. Hinks’ choice of language complimented the carefully crafted world he created for the story and it was neither heavy handed or awkward. The pace of the novel was excellent and it kept me turning the pages until many a small hour – always a successful point. I was gripped.
What truly seized me however were the interactions between the three main protagonists. After reading a lot of novels set in the realm of chaos, it was a true pleasure to read about characters that liked one another. The dynamic between the young Antros, the older, sterner Rhacelus and the enigmatic Mephiston is expertly executed. The three compliment one another, even if they often do not understand each other. I never felt as though there was deceit between them and it was clear that although there was definite fear of death, none of them would die alone.
I don’t post spoilers in my reviews, but I want to discuss one point at the start of the book that was refreshing. Antros seeks the aid of a guardsman in locating a position in a dangerous place. When the inevitable danger occurs, he is desperate to ensure the guardsman survives. The fact that there are Chapters that still regard mortals as valuable and worth saving was brought into this novel clearly, however it never forgot the elements of Grimdark that are associated with Warhammer 40 000 either.
Darius Hinks has done a wonderful job with this novel, and I do look forward to reading the next one, right after Devastation of Baal, which is what I am chewing through rapidly at the moment.
I was unsure whether I was going to bother entering anything for the Black Library Open Submissions this time around. I’ve been busy getting the commission business all set up and going and I spent the majority of my time painting. It would be a shame not to though, these opportunities don’t come around very often and it would be a waste not to take it while it’s there.
The theme this time is Brotherhood, with a choice of different themes to write within that. They want to see groups of individual working together, and seeing how I like creating Warbands and such, it gave me the kick I needed to flesh out some of my half created characters.
I decided to go for the group who would have made the diorama had I finished it in time. The Ludicrous Seven. They consist of the following character:
Kycius – an Iron Warrior who likes to think he is in charge.
Roushal – A Noise Marine who talks too fast and too much.
Abraxas – A Khorne Berzerker who is surprisingly together when not in a fight.
Festus – A Plague Marine – he needs the most work.
Shabaka – A Thousand Son sorcerer with delusions of grandure
Sarlath – A Night Lord without the ability to speak
Davidus – An Ultramarine Skeleton.
They are an interesting bunch who are slowly taking shape in my mind. I have a lot of work to do on them, but I have a rough outline and a plot that grows each day. I am looking forward to seeing where their tale goes at the very least! For now, have this short scribble and some pictures of the miniatures:
Crouching behind an overly large rock, the three of them exchanged glances. Between them and their target were countless more of the demon things. Kycius sucked in a breath. Before he could stop him, Roushal poked his head up before immediately ducking down. “There’s ten thousand, I counted real quick.” Kycius looked at Shabaka, who rolled his eyes.
The idea I’ve got for my next diorama is ambitious to say the least. I have never before attempted anything as large as this, or as detailed. If it works, then it might well be the coolest thing I have ever created. If not, well, the less said about that the better.
I am calling it the Ridiculous Six.
It will be based around five Space Marines who are having a few problems with some Tyranids. The idea has been floating around in my head for a long time now but I haven’t had the skill or guts to try and put it together. With how well Ahriman and the Ahrimen went down, I decided to give this a go and see how I get on.
Here are two of the concept sketches that will form the basis of the diorama itself:
I am not the best drawer in the world but I am sure you get the idea. Fortunately, I have most of the bits I need in order to make this scene. The only things I need to pick up are the Night Lord who is stabbing the Brood Lord in the head and the rippers that the nurglings are going to be battling.
It is going to be an interesting project as the electronics are going to be slightly different as well. I want the Land Raider to have hazard lights and I want it to be spewing out smoke as well – as though the vehicle has crashed.
I need to figure out a colour scheme for the tyranids that’s going to stand out against the Black Legion Marines.
I thought Black Legion would be the best option because not only do I think they are awesome, but the Black and Gold will tie the warriors together rather than having them in their legion ones. I think that these are the ones that get sent in to do stupid jobs in the hope that they will never come back, yet they always do. I shall have to figure out their story as I am working on the diorama.
It’s been a while since I posted here. Between the January ‘blues’ and being busy at work, I didn’t feel like I had much to talk about. However, while on the nerd holiday with good friends, I managed to get some painting in and I wanted to show what I had been doing.
Most of you know I am a bit of an Abaddon fan. I don’t know what it is about him, I like like the character and the whole ideal they carry. I also made a miniature of my husband as a space marine for Christmas and then painted it as to his requirements. Black and Gold it was, his reasoning being he would rather be bossed about by Khayon than Ahriman.
He was painted up and looked amazing but we soon realised that he needed some friends to poke about and make fun of. I also happened to have a box of rubrics lying around not doing anything. I built them up during one of our D&D sessions based on our core group of friends.
The first one of which is now painted, pictured here with and then without, the boss;
The person this rubric is based off is gay, which is why he has a rainbow painted on his crest. As I do the rest of them, their individual quirks will become known. Soon, there will be an entire squad of rubrics based on our friends. Incidentally, the friends think this is a brilliant idea as well. Not entirely sure how Abaddon will feel about this bunch of nutters joining him though.
I have never been to a Wargames Expo before and I was not too sure what to expect. I have been to several warboots however and I suppose I thought it would be like that. It was better in some ways and worse in others.
I really liked the wide range of traders there were. There was something for everyone and all the people I spoke to were exceptionally friendly. If they didn’t have what you wanted, they were more than eager to pass on details and find out the information for you. There were a lot of smiles and friendly people, which made the place seem very welcoming.
There was a lot going on as well, plenty to see and do. Hosts of participation games aimed at all ages were going on over the three floors but at no point did the place seem over-crowded or jammed in. I did not try any of the games but I did look on as others did. Gangs of Rome seems like a fun game to look at and so I may see if there is anything else to it.
This Indiana Jones style quiz – find the mummy – was a huge board that was artfully constructed. The pyramid, and other sections of the board, lifted up and you had to really look for the characters. It was 50p a go!
There was also a tournament, both Warhammer 40K and Warmachine, going on. I am not all that into tournament playing, that would be the forte of my husband, but we went for a look anyway as some pals were playing. While there, I spotted some familiar faces and with permission, I was able to take a picture:
Stunning miniatures and lovely players who took time out of their game to talk to us, albeit briefly.
I also managed to snag a couple of bargains and some material for an experiment as well, which always makes me happy. A lot of the gear at Vapnartak was for historical miniature gaming, which is not my area, but it was nice to see regardless. Nothing wrong with looking at other systems and snagging ideas after all.
I love Space Marines. I love painting them, I love reading about them, I love writing about them. I even love playing with them. Of course I have favourites but I love them all really. There is no real secret around that.
I have learned however, that not everyone else loves Space Marines in the same way I do. It is a shame but we cannot all be the same, that would be boring.
I was chatting to my sister the other night about commissions and how it is going when I said that I felt that although what I have painted and displayed on this blog is decent, it is all very much of the Space Marine flavour and that I felt I should do some other miniatures to prove that I can paint other things. She readily agreed with me.
So, this morning, she allowed me to raid her and her husband’s bits box for anything that I feel might be useful. This is what I found:
There is only one Space Marine in this bunch of miniatures! Only one! There are also a couple of Warmachine dudes as well, so they should be interesting. Some of these are old, some are new. Some need repairing, some are in excellent condition. They were all just sitting in the garage doing nothing too. This should keep me busy for some time and will offer a little more diversity for the examples page. Watch this space for sure.
In the meantime, if you do want to commission me for anything, feel free to get in touch. I promise I do not bite.
One of the aspects that I truly enjoy about my job is the ability to shape and influence young people. It is a true priveledge to be able to guide and shape young minds and hopefully leave them with positive experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
I have never hidden my interests from the children in my class and although some of them are a little ‘what do you do that for?’ they all understand how important it is to have aspects of your life that are not just work or playing on Fortnite.
When two of the boys, one in year 6 and one in year 4 came up to me and asked ‘Could we do Warhammer in your class at lunchtime, I practically jumped for joy and agreed. There was no bribery involved. I had toyed with the idea of joining the school alliance before and so now I had the motivation to do so.
Games Workshop were very helpful in arranging the pack to be sent to us and it arrived just before Christmas. The club started properly in January and we now have more than 2 members. 7 lads aged between 8 and 11 are now fully enjoying what it means to assemble and paint miniatures. So far, we have undercoated the figures we have been sent in Abaddon Black. Yes, I have shared who Abaddon is and they were all suitibly in awe! We are not yet at the stage of learning to play yet but I am sure we will get there very soon.
Even better, was when these lads have gone into GW on their own and brought miniatures that inspire them. I have a mix of Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40 000 so far and I can only see that growing. To be able to inspire them to want to do this in their own time is a power I never sought to have and is humbling in many ways.
Of course, I am unable to share pictures of the children, but that does not mean I cannot picture their work and share it. Here is our efforts pictured together, along with a couple of intruders!
Some of you may have noticed that I have a little* bit of a soft spot for Ahriman so, I thought it would be a good idea to actually give the books by John French a read. I looked up his blog for the reading order, loaded up the kindle and off I went. I will try and do this without too many spoilers, but the books have been out for a while and I think most of us know the outcome by now anyway.
I enjoyed All is Dust – a short story from the perspective of a Rubric Marine. What is that you say? They’re just dust floating about in armour! This one seemed to be able to recall his name and some basic emotion when roused to battle but rapidly forgot it when he returned to the inert state. I liked this because it offered insight into what are basically suits of armour that are pushed about by sorcerers.
In the series, there are three novels and a collection of other short stories told from the Point of View of a sorcerer known as Ctesias. These are told in first person narrative and I am going to admit that Ctesias did my head in. His insights into what was going on was irritating, though I think that was the character rather than the tales he was telling, which were good. I do enjoy it when a character grates on my nerves. Not all characters are written to be liked after all and Ctesias certainly got a reaction. The outcome of one particular story was rather satisfying for me as a reader, if not Ctesias himself.
So, the story of Ahriman then. Well, he sulks a great deal. The start of the series is after the rubric and he is hiding away from what he did. The three books follow his journey to ‘power’ and ends with the (and this is the HUGE spoiler here) failure of the second rubric. The books are easy to read, well constructed and even the characters that I don’t like are engaging. There is a range of different personalities within the three novels but none of them dominate. They all get a good amount of ‘screen time’ as well. The plots are well constructed, elaborate and engaging. I know for a fact that I will read these again and not just because I am fan of the Thousand Sons.
The one thing that these tales confirmed for me, again, is that Magnus is a giant, selfish jerk who really needs to get his head out his butt and think of someone other than himself once in a while. There was rage… I do like it when characters and books make me actually feel something! It is a real treat!
The next book I am reading is Primogenitor by Josh Reynolds. Friends have been on at me for months to read it and I managed to grab a copy at the weekend.
*It’s not that little really, my adoration of the Persian Space Wizard is well known and unashamed.